This year I’ve tried to change my routine up a bit and include some planned “me time” to unwind and focus on my needs. When work and life become chaotic (seems to be the chorus of my life) I often always forget to just breathe and plan my day so that I get some special time dedicated to me – never mind the list of errands in my diary that I struggle to get to. This year I started a bullet journal, with the aim of spending more time working on me, but I am definitely not using it to its full potential because I only pick it up every now instead of daily. I did however start jotting down how often I’ve been ill this year. When reflecting on last year, I realised that my body and immune system had really taken a serious knock as a result of the high stress levels I continually operate under and I decided I needed to make a conscious change in my routine and focus on me more.

In an effort to have more Me Time, some of the changes I’m making include:

  • No longer lying on the couch for hours like a sack of potatoes and watching series for hours on end. Because after I’ve done this and time has flown by, I get more stressed out about what I haven’t done. Also, I get headaches from too much TV.
  • Reading more. I am currently reading 4 books which feels odd for me because I prefer to focus on one at a time, but I switch these books up and read them based on the mood I am in. I am also actively trying to read before I go to bed at night, instead of watching series until my eyes get gummy from yawning so much and becoming over tired before bed.
  • Drinking chamomile tea before climbing into bed. I don’t want to take pills anymore to help me fall asleep or sleep through for a whole evening so I now drink a glass or two of chamomile tea before bed which has definitely been helping.
  • Gym. This really is my happy place when I am in a good headspace. Tonight I left the office feeling a little ill after having stomach flu this weekend and grumpy about something and I skipped gym to get groceries and go home instead (cue terrible headspace). In hindsight, this didn’t end up being such a bad choice because I cooked for the first in ages and made a really yummy meal as well as some meal prep for the week ahead. Going to gym helps calm my mind because when I am highly stressed I end up having nightmares and wake up in the morning feeling exhausted because my mind hasn’t shut down at all. Tomorrow I am booked for a Pound class which I absolutely love and can’t wait to do because I come home and pass out from exhaustion and a hectic endorphin rush.
  • Pinning on my Pinterest board called Me Time. I started this board a little while back and started saving some tips on there for things I can try to better invest in Me Time. When you read some of the lists you may think that these tips are so obvious, so why would I need to pin them to a board? Well, when you are feeling super overwhelmed, these tips are not obvious at all so there are times when you need them to be written down and pinned to a board that you can go back to whenever you want and have the option to save the images on your phone or iPad for another time when you need a little help again.
  • Accepting that it’s okay to be overwhelmed. It really is okay. It doesn’t mean you are weak, or silly, or failing. It means you care and you are trying and it’s hard but you’ll get through it so just push through. I’m learning to try look at things through another lens and see that there is always another answer no matter how much I feel like I am drowning. I got through a lot last year and I will get through this year’s challenges – as long as I keep moving forward.
  • Talking about my feelings and fears. Talking to someone when I am struggling isn’t easy for me because I feel weak doing that. But in the last two months, telling people when I am struggling has been such a relief and has empowered me and energised me. Don’t bottle stuff up because if you do you will never be able to invest in your Me Time properly and be focussed. You will actually end up feeling far worse than when you started out.
  • Cuddling Jack and being thankful. When things seem super overwhelming and I’m exhausted I cuddle Jack and think about everything I am thankful for – my warm bed, my warm socks and winter clothes, the roof over my head, the food in my fridge. Jack has been the most amazing addition to my life and I am so happy I adopted him. I can’t imagine the last year without him and the joy he brings me every day (including at 04:45 when he wants his breakfast). He is my little helper with everything that I do and loves me unconditionally.

If you realise you haven’t spent enough time investing and looking after yourself, here are some tips to help you get started. My favourite tip is number 20: Go outside more. There’s no better feeling than standing in the sun and smelling the fresh air. I am not a fan of winter and the shorter days, but am appreciating the beauty of nature evolving and the leaves changing colour. By trying some of these tips out and spending more time looking after “you”, you’ll be surprised by how these little changes lead to bigger changes. I’ve done a number of them and am already feeling a little more in control, and a lot more relaxed. Good luck on your side. xxx