Take Time For Yourself

Think back on the past month of holidays - did you concentrate all of you time and effort on cleaning, cooking, decorating and shopping for other people? Did you stay as busy as humanly possible just so you could get everything done that you wanted? Are you now stressed, tired and physically drained?

The holiday season isn't the only time we get spread so thin and make ourselves half-crazy. Most women feel like we're not accomplishing anything if we're not busy all the time. We want to experience life to its fullest, which means double-scheduling ourselves and our families.

This is a great time to relearn how to take time for yourself. This may seem like a silly idea when you're already stretched to the limit, but if you don't take time to rest and rejuvenate now, your body and mind can develop bigger problems. It's pretty common knowledge that stress leads to heart disease and depression, and makes you susceptible to other illnesses. A little time set aside now can prevent issues later.

So how and when can you make time for yourself and your own interests?

* Schedule time for yourself just like you would a dentist's appointment or ball game. Write it down on your calendar every day - seeing it will help you do it.

* Try to remember all the activities you enjoyed before you got too busy to enjoy them. Do you read, craft, garden, window-shop, write, watch movies, go for a walk or play computer games? Take a few minutes each day for one of your favorite pastimes just to regroup for the rest of the day.

* Look at your daily schedule and see what's zapping your time and energy. Eliminate all nonessential activities and people and use that time for yourself.

* Do something out of the ordinary. Go to a museum. Browse the library. Brew a cup of tea or make some cocoa. Pull out a book you've been putting off reading. A change in schedule can boost your spirits quicker than chocolate. Maybe.

* Consider a technology-free day. Don't answer the phone (unless it's your husband), don't worry about e-mail and don't surf the Internet. Stress can enter our homes and lives in many technological ways, so nip them in the bud for a day.

* Change your surroundings. If you normally stay home all day, take a drive. If you're on the road or at work all day, schedule an afternoon at home. If you always eat breakfast at home, treat yourself at a restaurant. Sometimes the most fun comes when you do something unusual.

* Take a class - cooking, exercise, crafts. Scheduling something regularly will help you make the time for yourself a priority.

* Choose exercise. Not only can you get a great workout, you can work off some calories and feel fabulous when you're done.

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