Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Post Host featuring Chelle from Everyday Polish!

Today is the final Post Host featuring Chelle from Everyday Polish. If you are interested in linking up with WIOG, please contact me at kimberly.workitoutgurl@gmail.com to discuss topics and timing! 

Making the Most of "Me" Time

Hey WIOG Fam! As I write this post, I'm in a better mood than I have been in awhile, mainly because I managed to get in a good amount of "me" time this weekend.  Between the stress of working full-time, trying to keep up with life's daily demands and striving to be a good daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend, I often find myself overwhelmed by a calendar full of time blocked out for other people without much time scheduled in for myself.  Therefore, when I run across a weekend where I have significant amounts of free time, I tend to find myself shocked (and worried that I forgot something I'm "supposed" to be doing) and often unprepared to handle this gift of time! It sounds crazy, but it always feels as though I've been living in a cacophony of raucous sound and it suddenly stops-by the time I adjust to the silence, the noise has usually started back up again.   I identified this pattern a little while ago and have been conscientiously working to break it.  Here are some of the ways I've found to maximize my "me" time.

1) Embrace it- and don't apologize!
The fact that there is an empty block on your calendar does not mean you're required to fill it.  It's OKAY to have downtime.  Living in a city where there's always something new going on, I often struggle with this concept.  If I'm sitting alone in my apartment, no matter how much I personally enjoy peace and quiet, a part of me feels like I should be out and about conquering the world! If somebody wants to make plans when I just want to veg out I feel like I'm somehow "lying" if I decline without having something else planned.  It's taken awhile but I realize that I'm not.  Taking advantage of your "me" time IS another plan and there is no reason to feel sorry for wanting to keep it.

2) Be Spontaneous
"Me" time doesn't have to mean lying in bed all day watching reality TV (although it sometimes does for me, teehee).  "Me" time just means time that you haven't committed to anybody else's needs and that you can spend doing 100% whatever you want with it.  This weekend, I chose to spend some of my "me" time catching up with friends through spontaneous brunch, dinner and movie dates.  There was no pressure because it wasn't as though we'd blocked off space for each other on our calendars months ago, it was simply a question of waking up and feeling as though spending quality time with these people would make me happy. And it did. Your "me" time might be going for a bike ride or watching a movie- do it! The whole point is to spend time doing something that feels like a choice rather than an obligation and that really makes you happy.

3) Don't Let Interruptions Throw You Off Your Game
Even though we WIOG/EP ladies know that empty time on our calendar belongs to us and nobody else, others in our lives may not be as respectful of those boundaries.  To the extent that you can enforce them (a firm, but polite "no, I already told you I can't make it") you should, but there will be times when your "me" time is interrupted by somebody or something you can't ignore.  In my case, it tends to be work.  I used to consider a random work request the death blow to a "me" day (and sometimes it is) but I've begun to remind myself that nothing lasts forever.  Staying positive, addressing the issue and giving myself something fun to look forward to after I'm done helps me deal with pop-up obligations without getting resentful that they "ruined" my day.

4) Be Good to Your Body
As tempting as it might be to use downtime as an excuse to lie in bed or overindulge on carbs and other sugar, I find that days when I don't have any other obligations are the perfect time to give my body what it ACTUALLY wants- healthy food and movement.  When I'm not rushing around just trying to make it through the day, it's fun to get creative in the kitchen (with GOOD stuff) or walk to my destinations instead of hopping into a cab.  Even if you think you want to stay in bed all day, next time you have some free time think of a fun way to do something good for your body- don't "drag" yourself to the gym- check out Groupon Now or LivingSocial to see if there's a fun dance or fitness class you can try out in your area, explore your neighborhood on foot or (when the weather warms up) go for a swim. For a double-win, wander through the nearest farmer's market and pick up some fresh, local fruits and veggies for dinner.

5) Make Time
Everybody says you should schedule your "me"-time, but I'm the first to admit that it's hard! Sure, I try to sneak in little moments throughout the day, but if I overschedule or overthink it, even taking breaks feels like work.  How to overcome? I'm not completely sure yet to be honest, but what I do know is that you deserve at least ONE day soon that you have NOTHING to do.  Pull out your Calendar now and whatever the next free day you have is (even if it's months away) circle it now and commit to reserve it for yourself.  Just one day.  Don't commit to anything that day so you can wake up and see how you feel and listen to that voice inside that will tell you what you need to feel refreshed emotionally and physically.

That's the end of my "me-time" advice as well as my first run as a WIOG PostHostess! I hope you've enjoyed my posts and keep in touch over at EP or on Twitter (@everydaypolish)! XOXO!

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