Do you ever find yourself saying “I never have enough time,” if you do this topic may be for you. If you were like me you are constantly thinking about what you have to do next. You never feel fully engaged in the task at hand because your mind is thinking about what you have to do in the next two hours. Your to do list runs your life. You never feel fully present in the moment because you are trying to be superwoman. You are trying to be the best mom, wife, business woman, student, friend, daughter, house cleaner, chef, gym rat and the list goes on.
The keyword here though is present.. Being present to me means,“being fully engaged in the moment, setting worry, control and the clock aside and just being. It is stopping your mind from wandering to what you think you should be doing or worrying about what others maybe thinking of you. B: unapologetically you in that moment.” What does being present mean to you? It will look different for everyone because everyone’s life comes with different stressors, controls and fears. Stop and think do you feel present in your life? Does your mind wander to the next task at hand? Do you find yourself scrolling social media when you should be engaged with your child or spouse? Do you worry about what others think about your choices? All of these thoughts and worries hinder your 24 hours in a day. Simply put, you are too stressed and worried to enjoy it. This is a mindset that I used to have and at times still do, but I have been on a journey to not let “time” I don’t have control my thoughts and feelings. I’m learning to appreciate the time I do have!
Let me tell you a little bit about myself so you understand why this topic is so important to me. I am classic type A personality. I like things planned in every aspect of my life. I enjoy the old school to do list with a pen and paper and checking them off the list. Oooh does that feel good! I need my living space clean to have a clear head. I thrive on structure and routine. When something doesn’t go my way, I panic a little ( I mean a lot) inside. I am a self-proclaimed control freak. When I accomplish one goal, I quickly move onto the next. I have to keep moving or I get easily bored. I have been described as unflappable, that is because I internalize and absorb everything around me. I believe in the energy that people give off and I am a sponge when it comes to people’s energy. I consider myself a perfectionist with a side of hot mess. Full disclosure my keys have turned up in the refrigerator and I give myself an A+ in procrastination when I don’t want to do something.
A year ago is when my journey really began, the happiest day of my life was the birth of my son which happened to be the biggest change I had to face to date. My new found love for my son changed my priorities and time in the best way possible. My feelings of time constraints came to a head when I headed back to work after having my son Cooper, I struggled like most woman do when going back to work. The intense pain of missing Cooper. The fear that I chose the right daycare provider. The thoughts of “will Cooper bond with me still or am I a bad mom for going back to work?” Then just in general, as a new mom, I was learning how to balance my life as a mom, wife, employee, raising a young family, housework, spending time with friends and family the list goes on. On top of that, I had all of the above personality traits that don’t do well when your time gets cut in half, your priorities have to shift or going through a big change. During this time I experienced a huge amount of anxiety and mom guilt. At times it felt absolutely debilitating, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I still feel this way at times. I would power through the week because there was no time for me to be weak and then came the weekend and I would breakdown into what felt like a million pieces. Whenever I found myself with a moment of time to think my head would fill with all these intense thoughts of failure. I never felt like I had enough TIME to be good at anything. I wanted to be the best mom, best wife, best daughter, best friend, business woman and lose all my baby weight during this process. I had unrealistic expectations for myself in the place I was at in life and the time that I had available to me. I wanted it all so I tried, I tried dang hard but it was a battle I lost because I wasn’t enjoying anything.
The lesson I learned was I needed to accept the time I did have and make the best of it. Being mad or resentful was a waste of time. Not being present and trying to do everything wasn’t healthy for me or my family. The truth is that everybody feels a shortage of time in their life whether your college student, you have a demanding job, you’re a stay at home mom, working mom, single mom. Time constraints and stress come in all shapes and forms. You can’t compare your time to others because we all have different stories. We just have to reflect on our time and what we want to make out of what we have.
I have been practicing now for almost a year embracing the season of life I am in. You will hear me say this phrase a lot. I love it. It describes a change in your life, that will be around for while. You have to bring out the right tools to make it the best season yet! It is like buying a new summer wardrobe. When you have the right clothes that fit right, you can do anything and feel good doing it!
Here is what I have practiced to take back control of my time and make the best of every moment!
1.) Learn to say “no” to things you don’t want to do.
Identify things that you say “yes” to because you feel you may hurt someones feelings or that maybe they will get mad at you if you say no. Are these things that you really want to do? I used to do almost everything I was invited to if it fit into my calendar. Then I would dread doing half of those things leading up to that event. I have learned who and what makes me happy. If those two things are in the invite, hell yes I will go! If not 95% of the time I will say no. Here is the kicker you need to be honest when you say no, don’t make up an excuse. B: unapologetically you! There is nothing wrong with not wanting to do something that will take you away from what you love. In this season of life I love my family time!
2) Learn when you need “you” time.
My husband once said to me “when you’re happy and ok that’s all this family needs.” I get so wrapped up with being the best mom and wife, I forget to be the best version of me. I will become this ball of stress and not enjoy anything. To stop that, you need to find “you” time where you can clear your head. For me it’s the gym or a sushi date with my girl friend. I’ve learned to have shorter more effective workouts that take less time away from my family or I meet up with a girl friend after my son goes to bed. Find time for you in whatever capacity you can, even if it’s a trip to Target with a Starbucks in hand.
3) Get off your dang phone.
This has really helped me because I am completely guilty of being sucked into the social media world. If I am sitting on my phone while I am hanging out with my son. I am robbing my son and myself of the time we get to spend together. It’s not possible to never be on or around your phone but try selecting times in your day where you are phone free. There are two times in the day I set my phone aside and I only check it if I get a message or call. The first time is after I pick my son up from daycare until he goes to bed. That is time for just Cooper and I. He has my devoted attention. The second is when my husband and I watch one of our shows. We typically have one hour a night after Cooper goes to bed. We both set our phones aside so we are engaged in that time with each other. This step here has really allowed me to feel present and less distracted. My mind is clear and focused during the times that bring me the most joy, being with my family.
4) Write yourself a positive note, read words of affirmation, reflect on why you are thankful everyday.
I find the more positive energy I put out the more it returns back to me. When I reflect on what I am thankful for it makes me appreciate everything I have in life. It makes me thankful for the time I have and therefore I don’t want to waste my time doing things I don’t want to do or being negative. Jot your positive words or thankful thoughts down in your planner or journal so you can always look back on it. This is a great way to keep your mind on the positive side.
5) Take care of your body.
When you take care of your body you are doing so much more for yourself than you realize. You are creating more time for you! When I eat right and move, it gives me fuel to take on the day. It helps me not feel like I’m dragging in the afternoon or feel like I’m coming out of a coma in the morning. When you feel healthy it shows in the way you look and the energy you have for in the day. Find a physical activity that you can squeeze in that is even just 15 minutes long! I love finding short YouTube workout videos that I can do when I am in a time crunch. Two of my favorite online communities/YouTube videos are Tone It Up and Fitness Blender. Those fifteen minutes spent taking care of yourself will reward your mind and body throughout the day.
6) Accept the things you just don’t have time for.
I mentioned earlier I love a clean house. I really do, a clean house allows me to have a clear head space. Our routine every night is to pick up living room and the kitchen this sets us up to wake up the next day with a clear space. This was important for me to keep, BUT do not look at our baseboards, floors or bathrooms… those don’t quite get cleaned as frequently or as well. At first this was hard for me to accept but hey guess what I can’t do it all. If it’s going to be hanging out with my family or cleaning a toilet…. it’s my family. Don’t get me wrong it all gets cleaned just not like it used to and that is ok! What are somethings you can let go to enjoy your time more and reduce stress?
These are some of the steps that I have used to take back control of my time and enjoy more of life in less time available. These have been life changing for me. I am so thankful for the life and time I have with my beautiful family and truly cherish every moment of it. It can get insanely busy, I may be exhausted at times, and things aren’t always perfect but I feel like I am truly trying to live each moment to it’s fullest!
I believe that there is always more to learn when it comes to self-care and learning how to B: your best self. I would love to hear any comments or suggestions to what tools allow you to be truly present and at peace with the time you have with what can be a busy and stressful life!