Last year at the unofficial start of summer I was feeling rested, strong and healthy. This year, I am getting over the flu and a bad bout of putting myself very low on my priority list. It happens to the best of us. We get so caught up with our busy lives that we forget to make time for the basics that keep us feeling good on the inside, and out. If this sounds familiar, here are three tips to get back on track:
1. Schedule time in your calendar for you.
I easily schedule time to meet with my health coaching clients or the yoga students in my teacher training programs. I have no problem dropping almost anything to make sure my puppy gets her training sessions–and she and her big brother always get their daily walks. When it comes to scheduling time for me, however, I am in the doghouse right now. In order for me to be a good yoga teacher and coach (not to mention a calm, patient dog mom), I need time in my week for rest, exercise, spiritual connection and a few hours to just kick back and have some fun. When I skip these things, I feel depleted.
So what is the remedy? Figure out what you need in your day/week to restore and maintain your overall well-being. Then block out space in your calendar for these things that help you feel like the best version of you. That could include a five minute meditation in the morning, a walk with a friend at lunch, thirty minutes to read something other than email, or maybe a manicure/pedicure.
2. Get colorful!
I am one of those people who actually enjoys organizing. My MacBook Pro calendar has more colors than a rainbow with my many custom categories. Even my dogs have their own yellow calendar list. My blue “personal” calendar, however, has been filled lately with things like “Dentist Appointment” and “Bikini Wax.” Not exactly my idea of quality “me” time.
If your calendar application allows you to create multiple categories with a unique color, make one that is exclusively for those things that boost you up on your priority list and help you feel good, like a yoga class or sweat session at the gym. (Use a colored pen/pencil if you keep your calendar by hand.) This will help you quickly scan your week to be sure you have scheduled sufficient time for yourself. Bonus: If a lot of this time includes exercise, you can visually check that you have created a realistic, balanced fitness schedule. It also feels good at the end of the week to look back and see all those colorful chunks of time you dedicated to your health and well-being.
3. Do not cancel on yourself.
If you cancel an appointment with your dentist or hairdresser last minute, you usually get billed. If you cancel on yourself, there are hefty costs, as well. They won’t show up in your bank account, but your peace of mind may take a big hit and your energy reserves will probably end up dangerously overdrawn.
Now, this doesn’t mean that emergencies don’t crop up. You have to be willing to shift your day around if you have an unexpected deadline at work, or if, for example, your puppy pees on the bed and you suddenly need to wash all of your linens including the mattress pad. (This might have happened recently in my house.) But these cancellations shouldn’t happen too often. And when they do, move that chunk of time you allocated for yourself to another part of your day if at all possible.
Your To-Do list will probably be full for many years to come. And if you’re like me, your days are often unpredictable. We live very busy lives, and even as a health coach and yoga teacher, I sometimes put my own health on the back burner. Making yourself a priority is a habit–and it’s one that we need to rigorously maintain. So this week I am filling my calendar with important dates that I won’t break. Dates with . . . me. I hope you get your calendar out and do the same!