Find Hidden Time to Balance Your Busy Life and Self-Care

No matter what life throws your way, it’s possible to feel sad, angry, or shocked and still feel resilient. You can feel crappy and still face each moment with heightened awareness, a clear mind, and a strong connection to the present moment. Keep reading to learn about a more mindful and balanced existence – and how to find the time to fit self-care in. 

The Impact of Unchecked Day to Day Stress

Have you ever been so stressed out from a life event that you can’t remember a drive you took? It doesn’t even have to be a major event. Some of us are like matches walking around in danger of getting ignited by being rubbed the wrong way, aren’t we? The biggest problem with that? We get burned by the way we react… and then all the added stress from THAT burns us completely out.

Prior to my training in coaching, I can remember one morning I was in a great mood! I walked into our kitchen to prepare my lunch – I was even ahead of schedule!

Then… the unthinkable happened.

ONE nitpicky comment from my husband.

I don’t remember what it was, but it was something trivial that I had done – something stupid like I left crumbs on the counter… and I immediately got defensive. Then I became outraged (internally) that he would dare ruin my good mood with something so stupid.

The nerve. HA!

I left for work that morning fighting tears, later than I should have been leaving because we were fighting. Driving on a 3 lane highway, I was all the way in the left lane so I could speed – and someone cut in front of me going slower than I was. I had to hit the brakes and my anger turned toward that guy – that’s what set the tearful faucet valve to open – and my thoughts went back into replaying all the things I wanted to say to my husband about how this near accident was his fault too.

The rest of the drive is a blur.

I do remember being unable to focus at work – for an entire half of the day.

Why did I react that way to a simple comment?

There were many reasons, but one of them was because I thought I didn’t have the time for mindfulness or self-care. When we don’t take the time needed to unwind and be mindful, we can be like walking timebombs. 

The constant cycle of work, cooking, eating, and cleaning can become an all-encompassing routine. This cycle often leaves you feeling like there’s barely any room for self care, let alone a mindfulness routine. 

The demands of work and the responsibilities at home can create a sense of being on autopilot, where each day blends into the next without a moment to pause and connect with the present. This lack of intentional space for self-care and mindfulness can contribute to a feeling of detachment, making it challenging to maintain a strong connection to the present moment. 

The mind, preoccupied with the demands of the day (especially if an extra added stressful event happens), may struggle to find clarity of thought, and awareness of surroundings becomes a distant goal. 

As a result, when life events occur – even an innocent and warranted comment from a loved one – the emotions may catch us off guard. Those emotions hijack our responses and leave us feeling overwhelmed. Breaking free from this cycle is crucial to reclaiming the moments that matter.

Truly… When I looked at my life from the bigger picture, it seemed like there was so much being done, but so little to show for it. How was that possible? I knew there was a better way – but I truly thought I couldn’t fit anything more in! I just couldn’t find the time.

A woman looking for time through a telescope at birds and a flying clock

Can you relate? 

There is hope.

A Solution:

Prioritize your self-care even with a hectic schedule. I know, I know – you think you don’t have time.

I’ll challenge that by saying “I don’t have time” is a thought. It’s not a fact. Your thoughts are not facts.

So let’s identify and eliminate time-wasting activities to free up moments for self-care. It’s self-care that will help you stay mentally strong no matter what life throws at you. 

“I don’t waste time” – I know you just thought that because I did back in the day too! Again… It’s another thought – not a fact.

To find where you might be wasting time, try this:

Make a conscious effort to recognize what might be taking up your time that isn’t contributing significantly to your well-being or goals by taking the following steps: 

  1. Track Your Time: “Who has time for that?!” – if you just screamed that at the screen, it’s definitely a sign to go grab a pen and paper. Trust me… Take a week and jot down what you do hour by hour. All we’re looking for is patterns so we can  pinpoint activities that take up more time than necessary. 
  2. Prioritize: At the end of the week, grab a hot beverage and evaluate what you wrote down. What was important? What needs to happen exactly as it did? What can be eliminated? Be brutally honest with yourself… How much time was spent scrolling? When you have a list of what needs to stay, prioritize based on importance and urgency. This helps you find what truly matters, and minimize time spent on less critical activities.
  3. Set Goals: Establish clear self-care goals for your day, week, or month. What do you WANT to be doing? This provides direction and helps you identify tasks that align with what you really want, avoiding unnecessary diversions. Let me clarify self-care here too – I’m not merely talking about getting nails done and bubble baths – though, if that’s your thing, please do it! I’m more so talking about mindfulness activities that will help you become more clear headed like journaling, meditation, yoga, and anything else like that. 
  4. Limit Distractions: Identify common distractions such as excessive social media use, unnecessary meetings, or prolonged breaks. We don’t need to cut these things out – connection to the outside world is important! So is escaping into a great movie or book. All I’m saying, is schedule them in.  
  5. Delegate Responsibilities: Who is in your support network? If possible, delegate tasks that don’t require your direct attention. Can your partner pitch in? Maybe you can wrangle the kids and make teaching them how to make their lunch a fun activity. This can free up time for activities that align with your priorities.
  6. Review Regularly: Periodically repeat the first step – tracking your time – so you can review and adjust your schedule to find available pockets of time. Assess if you’re spending your time how you want to be spending it. Also, priorities or circumstances can change, and things will need to adjust accordingly. But you may not consciously know this unless you make reviewing a priority. 
  7. Learn to Say No: Recognize your limits and be willing to say no to additional commitments that don’t align with your goals. Saying no can help you protect your time. I used to work with a group that loved to go out for drinks after the office closed. Occasionally I would go, and sure it was fun! However, it only left me with an hour or so before I had to sleep so I could wake up and do everything all over again. After assessing my priorities, guess what? Drinks didn’t align for me anymore. 
  8. Batch Similar Tasks: Group similar tasks together and tackle them during specific time blocks. This minimizes the time lost in moving between different types of activities.
  9. Use Technology Wisely: While technology can be a valuable tool, it can also be a source of distraction. Set boundaries on the use of technology and choose apps or tools that enhance productivity rather than hinder it.
  10. Evaluate Your Energy Levels: Find the time of the day when you are most productive and focused. Schedule important or demanding tasks during these peak energy periods. 
  11. Give Yourself Grace: If your best time of the day for focus is normally in the morning, but you didn’t sleep well, don’t be afraid to ease up on yourself and move the task to a different day. Sometimes the best self-care is in the moment of need. Take a nap! You’ll thank me. 

Doing this work can shift your entire life toward a more mindful and balanced existence.

Of course, it’s also important to know the right self-care and mindfulness practices for you specifically so you know what to do with all the time you create for yourself. I promise, you’re going to find little chunks of time. It’s really surprising once you do this!

When you intentionally shift your mindset on a daily basis, you can learn to respond to the challenges life throws at you instead of having a short-fused reaction that sends you on a tailspin of emotional stress. You’ll feel more clear-headed and focused, and you’ll feel proud of yourself for handling everything so much better than you ever thought possible. 

Need help with all of this? Time management and mindfulness are only a piece of the puzzle that I’ll help you with in my coaching. The results extend beyond an efficient schedule; they encompass a lifestyle filled with intention, mindfulness, and a connection to the present moment. I’ll help you rescue yourself from feeling lost in a sea of overthinking and ruminating on all of life’s chaos. If you find yourself yearning for this kind of transformation, I’m here to support you. Here’s the link to learn more:

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