Creating Me Time

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Making ‘Me Time’ A Priority

I know how hard it is to find time in your week for some ‘Me Time’, let alone each day!  I honestly was the worst at finding these illusive moments, until I literally hit my lowest ebb, where I was spending most of my waking hours feeling lonely, resentful, bored, angry and basically just really bloomin’ miserable.

‘Me time’ is essential to remaining topped up with your energy levels, which in turn are ESSENTIAL in enabling you to deal with the constant demands of your life and family.  In addition, having that little something just for you makes you feel that at least on some level, your life has some ‘take’ as well as the constant ‘give give give’.

When you are a mum – a very busy mum – and feeling possibly a little low and unfulfilled, it’s even harder to see the wood for the trees.  Right now you may not be able to see any way how you could possibly find any time for YOU in your day.  I understand this completely!   Probably like you, my alarm goes off at 6am and my last chore is usually complete at 9pm.  The day passes by in a blur and some days I am left feeling spent as I clamber in to my un-made bed.

However, life has recently become different.  Although the alarm still rings out at 5.30am now, and the bed is still sometimes un-made,  I hit the sack feeling calmer, happier and more fulfilled.  I go to sleep with the feeling that I have done my best, rather than feeling the dread that I ‘have’ to do it all again tomorrow.  Now I feel like I ‘get’ to do it all again, rather than ‘have’ to.

So, what changed?  You ask.  Here I will share a few tips to help you to put yourself back at the top of your to-do list.  It might not happen every day at first, but this is about creating a new, empowering habit that will set you up for happiness and success.  The habit of ‘me-time’.

STEP 1) Journal Your Time

Get a notebook and start noting down how you spend each hour of your day.  List everything you do in your day for the next three days from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. You might be surprised at how much time you are spending doing things you think relax you, but in reality they aren’t really adding anything to your life!

I always used to catch myself saying ‘but I have NO time!’  I really believed it too.   In reality though, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have SOME time most days.  It’s true, I always feel like I have NO TIME, but that’s the lie I was telling myself to justify why I was so unfulfilled.  Instead I needed to place my focus not on lack, but how I needed to use that time to make me feel good.

I can usually find 10 minutes here and there where someone doesn’t need something from me.  In truth, some days, it could be an hour or more!!!  Rather than taking my  ‘well-deserved break’ in front of the TV for 30 minutes or doing the washing, which in reality, didn’t make me feel good at all, instead I prefer to do my nails, take a bath or read upstairs enjoying the silence.

STEP 2) Know Where You Are Going

You are never going to be able to increase the time you have, as we all have the same 24 hours in each day.  However you can focus your efforts on doing something in those 5 or 10 minutes that makes you feel good or helps you take a step closer to what you want.

To give you an example, as a brand new mum I realised that every time my eldest daughter used to go for a nap (when I just had one child) I would make a cuppa, get a ‘treat’ and sit on the sofa watching TV until she woke up.  That was my ‘reward’.

Ironically that ‘reward’ was making me more tired, fatter and taking me further away from what I actually wanted, which was to lose weight and get fitter!  My reward was giving me instant gratification but actually making me unhappy in the long term!

So I switched my habit.  I determined that for the next 30 days (it takes 30 days to form a new habit)  I would do 100 star jumps in front of the TV when Sienna went for her nap, rather than get a snack.  I still got the ‘treat’ of TV, but I used the same time to get healthier rather than fatter.  In fact, I decided I would try to motivate myself even more, by watching The Biggest Loser whilst working out in front of the TV.  A double whammy – workout for my motivation by intensifying my emotion around exercise and a workout for the body!

I then found that the star jumps made me NOT want the snack at all!  Instead I always ended up adding on lunges / squats / bicep curls / press ups / running on the spot etc each time I did the star jumps so my workouts developed in to 30 minute programmes.

Soon I was downloading workout apps and following these for the duration of her naps – whether they were 30 minutes or 90 minutes!  Before I knew it, it became ‘natural’ whenever I had a moment, to do some exercise – and I enjoyed it!  Needless to say this ended up to achieving my weight loss goals!

STEP 3) Get Real

Get honest and realistic with yourself.  Do you have any moments minus kids during the day where you could focus on YOU?  If the answer is yes, even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes, this is a great start!

If the answer is no, I feel for you, as I have odd days where I literally don’t have 1 minute where I’m not running around after the kids – it’s pure hell.  If this is you, the ONLY thing you need to do right now is to brainstorm as many ways as possible of allowing yourself some time each day without kids.  It might only be 5 or 10 minutes, but don’t stop until you find how to get these precious minutes.

Anyway most mums, when they really look at it, do have some time each day without a child attached to them.  Therefore in reality, the challenge is NOT that you don’t have ANY time to yourself.  It’s that you….

a) Don’t have as MUCH time as you’d like

b) You don’t have clear priorities to direct any free time, so it’s often spent doing something mindless (e.g. TV, washing, chores) rather than mindful.

These are VERY different than not having any time at all.

By the way, you deserve to veg out in front of the box any time you want.  However be aware that when you are feeling down and depressed, doing this really won’t help to lift your mood unless you select a programme that charges you emotionally, uplifts and inspires you.  Ditch the Jeremy Kyle and switch to Oprah or reading a few pages of ‘Chicken Soup for The Soul’if you want to crash out.  Feed your soul, not your sofa!

STEP 4) Rise to the Challenge

Take a walk with your kids, or ideally on your own.  I always find I clear my head when I get out amongst nature – must be all the oxygen from the trees!

If you are still finding yourself with ‘no time’ ask yourself in reality, what is the real situation out of the three options below:-

Challenge: No time

Work on getting 10 minutes of ‘me time’ daily without having your attention domineered by a child.  Being a good mum doesn’t mean you have to run yourself ragged – being a good mum is showing your child how to take good care of themselves.  Lead by example!

Challenge: Not enough time

Work on clarifying what you actually want moving forward in life.  If you can’t answer the question ‘what do you really want from life?’ try to spend 5 minutes a day brainstorming the answer to this question.  Then increase the ‘me time’ each day to work on discovering what you want until you have a clear vision.

Challenge: Not as much time as you’d like

This suggests there IS something here that you want to achieve.  You have a goal and your frustration comes not having ENOUGH time to do the things necessary to work towards it.

You need to work on how you can utilise the time you DO have in a way that works towards your goals.

For example, you really want a full 30 minutes to exercise, but you only normally get 10 minutes.  Instead of focsussing on the lack of 30 minutes, focus on exercising consistently each and every day for 10 minutes.  You might be shocked by the results when you utilise what you DO have rather than stressing about what you DON’T have.

Also use your time wisely.  You need the baby to take a nap, but you can’t get her to sleep in the cot in order to do a workout.  Pop him/her in the pram, get your trainers on and powerwalk!  This is killing two birds with one stone.  Just because your workout doesn’t look the way you wanted it to, it still got done, and you’ll still feel better than you did if you hadn’t done any exercise!

Challenge:  Not enough time doing things that make you feel good

This is much simpler.  If you know what you actually want you do have time but you aren’t feeling fulfilled, it is your PRIORITIES that are all wrong.   You therefore just need to look at how you can be more effective with your time.

You want to exercise for 30 minutes but instead you do the washing, tidy up toys, make a cup of tea and the 30 minutes is up.  You justify that you do it because it ‘needs’ to be done. You’re right, it does need to be done, but prioritise YOUR goals over the chores, and you will instantly feel more fulfilled each day.

When you start working towards the things that are really important to you, the rest of the chores will, somehow, get done.

Run the Day

I’ll finish this blog with a quote from one of my favourite motivational speakers – the incredible Jim Rohn.  To me this sums up perfectly in one succinct sentence how to find more ‘me time’ to lead you to a more fulfilling life.

Mums – good luck and I hope you have the most wonderful ‘me time’ today!  As always, I’d love to hear about how this blog inspired you to take action and be a happier mum, or further tips my readers can utilise.

‘Either you run the day, or the day runs you.’ – Jim Rohn

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