By Gretchen Rubin
I'm a real gold-star junkie. One of my worst qualities is my insatiable need for credit; I always want the recognition, the praise, that gold star stuck on my homework. Recently, I was grumbling to my mother about the fact that some extraordinarily praiseworthy effort on my part had gone unremarked upon. My mother wisely responded, "Most people probably don't get the appreciation they deserve." That's right, I realized — for instance, my mother herself! I certainly don't give her...
You may think "it's all about me" is selfish. But consider this: Other people benefit from your "me time," too. Do things that feed you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and you'll bring greater patience and a more positive attitude to your relationships. You’ll become a better parent, spouse, and a more effective team player at work.
Take a page from your calendar, literally. Every week, look at your calendar and book some me time.
Can't find an hour to devote to yourself? Even 5-15 minutes can work, if you stick to it.
Don't use the time to fold laundry or catch up on email. It may even seem more stressful at first to leave things undone, but you'll have more energy if you take a little time off.
Where to find the time?
Take advantage of the kids' reading or nap time.
Get up 10 minutes earlier.
Ask your kids (and spouse) to do the dishes.
Turn off the smartphone.
Claim a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon for yourself, even if that means adjusting your family’s schedule.
If 5 minutes is all you've got, you'd be surprised at how much you can make it count.
Just breathe. Really focus on taking deep breaths. Your mind may wander -- that's OK, just gently lead it back from thinking about everything that's on your to-do list.
Stretch. Get up from your desk and energize your muscles.
Do nothing. Sit quietly. Resist the urge to jump up and clear the table or pick up the kids' toys. Let your mind and body rest.
A Few Minutes More
At least once a month, carve out a little more time for yourself -- say 30 minutes to an hour. Get a pedicure. Or a facial. Go somewhere you've never been (a certain museum or a walking trail, perhaps). Write down your dreams and goals in a journal.