Making Time For the Things You Enjoy

Mind • Body • Soul: The Importance of Self Care

In sessions, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a life balance.

A recent study found that more than three-quarters of adults reported symptoms of stress that impacted sleep and physical health. In the same study, nearly half of all US adults (49%) said that stress has negatively affected their behavior (American Psychological Association 2020).

Stress even impacts school-age children. According to the Washington Post (2019), 75% of high schoolers and 50% of middle schoolers rated themselves as “often or always feeling stressed” over schoolwork.

Life forces us to focus on jobs, school (sometimes both) and family obligations. We get so lost in what we have to do, we lose sight of what we want to do. I often hear people describe their have-to-do list while their head is down and shoulders slumped. When I ask where fun plays into their lives, they snap out of their funk with a look of that concept never dawning on them. Life becomes drudgery and if we don’t do something about it, our mood spirals downward.

My recommendations are simple:

  • Do what you must and set aside what you can.
  • Advocate for yourself.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Make yourself a priority.
  • Use time wisely. Procrastinating is easy to do, especially when there’s a push against the things we need to do that aren’t very pleasurable. Smartphones, tablets and high definition TVs are great if not activated out of poor impulse control that divert from getting your Must-Dos done.
  • Brainstorm what you enjoy. When I ask clients this question, the initial response is often of uncertainty because they immersed themselves so much and for so long into the have to-dos that they buried what they actually like doing.
  • Make a plan. There was a time in my life where I said “I didn’t have time” to do stuff. Once I printed out a day’s calendar broken down into 15-minute intervals, I realized how much time there was in a day and how much time I actually wasted. Even if it’s only 10 – 15 minutes, book some time for yourself each day. By doing so, you can do an activity you enjoy without a cloud of guilt hovering over you saying you should be doing some mundane activity on your to-do list instead. Planning ahead will help you take care of the chore-like things you have to do in a day so you can enjoy even the smallest doses of pleasure.

Many people put important weekly dates like kids’ practices and dentist appointments on the calendar. Planning for daily or weekly fun is just as if not more important.