Take Time for Yourself!
By Brandi Watterson
There are many reasons we justify not taking time for ourselves.  Maybe we feel guilty setting aside “me time” when there are so many other important things that need to be done.  Maybe it is because we feel like if we did set aside time for ourselves, we would be putting our own needs in front of our children or our spouse.  Our responsibilities as parents, with our jobs, with the chores around the house and numerous other commitments, often prevent us from dedicating much needed time for ourselves.  We can’t get rid of anything on our to do list, which often times feels never ending, but we can learn how to fit ourselves in, juggling our schedule a bit, in order to make the time we have be as efficient as possible.  Once you take the initiative to schedule yourself as a priority, you will begin to see the benefits far outweigh the excuses.
With life as busy as it is now days, it feels impossible to take a break from our hectic schedules, so we just keep moving forward until we are completely drained.  Squeezing in just a little time here or there for ourselves, often leads to an overwhelming feeling that we need to be there for our loved ones, or other commitments in our lives for that matter, not ourselves! However, we want to be there when we can be all there, not just physically, but to the best of our ability.  We want to be on our job when we can be the most effective.  We want to be the best parent or spouse, when we are spending time with them.  In every area of our lives, we need to be all there.  Being pulled in so many different directions, no matter how well you balance them, does require some type of “personal time” for you, in order to be the best you can be.  Below are 3 Reasons why you should take time for yourself in order to be all there for others!

1.    Time off Replenishes You
In order to approach all of your commitments to the best of your ability, you must dedicate time for yourself to replenish.  Doing so will actually help you to become an even better you.  I know from experience how important “me time” is.  I would find myself filling up my calendar, feeling stretched in so many different areas, wearing different hats throughout the day, that by that night, I was exhausted, and dreaded doing it all over again the next day.  Don’t get me wrong, I had learned to balance my full plate, but I left a key ingredient out….time for myself!  No wonder I was drained.  No wonder I dreaded repeating my schedule each day.  You see, I loved everything that I did, but it was tiring.  In order for me to continue to be the best spouse, parent, employee, volunteer, etc., I needed to treat myself to some sort of relaxation.  A hard lesson to learn, but once accomplished, rewarding not only to yourself, but also to everyone else in your life.
2.    Time off Helps You to be More Effective
We feel like we are the most effective when we check everything off our list of “to do’s” for the day.  Don’t get me wrong, that is effective time management, which many people struggle to accomplish.  However, ask yourself this question, how effective am I while at work, or home with the family?  Am I just going through the motions, doing what I need to get done?  Am I physically there, but am not all in simply because I’m worn out?  If you answered yes to any of those questions, it would be wise to reevaluate how much time you are dedicating to yourself.  Often, we are stretched so thin, that we don’t have enough of “us” left to give.  You can only go so long before you reach burn out, and forcing yourself to continue on in this fashion becomes a burden instead of a blessing.  In essence, it can change your perspective on life.  Instead of being thankful you have a job, you dread it.  Instead of looking at taking care of your children or spouse as a blessing, you feel burdened by the added responsibility.  Taking the time for yourself, whether it is through 30 minutes a day, or an hour per week, not only gives you something to look forward to, but also causes a rippling effect.  Your down time gives you the opportunity to start the next day to the best of your ability, thus making you feel refreshed and allowing you to be more effective in every area.
3.    Time off Enriches Your Life
Once you decide to take the time for yourself, and implement it on a regular basis into your life, you begin to see positive change.  Your outlook on life begins to evolve.  Before, you may have looked at your responsibilities as a burden, simply because you were drained.  Setting aside “personal time” to treat yourself calms you, helps you to return to your commitments refreshed, allowing you to approach life with a new perspective.  When you are able to address life’s demands with a positive outlook, you experience a different attitude towards your responsibilities, are able to be all there, and feel a sense of enrichment in all areas of your life. 
Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying.  I know full well that taking time for “you” does not alleviate all negative feelings we experience from time to time.  Time off does not mean that you will never feel stretched too thin, or anxious about the heavy load you may carry.  However, once you actively implement “personal time” for yourself, the big picture is changed.  Some days may be more trying than others, but having a healthy balance that includes time for “you,” leads to positive results.  Not only are you able to approach different situations with a fresh perspective, but you are also able to lead a life that has a healthy balance of responsibilities and time for yourself, making things more manageable, thus changing your outlook on your list of “to do’s.”
“Personal time” is different for every person.  Some people may need 30 minutes to an hour everyday, while others may just need an hour or two per week.  It could be through diving into a good book every night, watching a favorite show with your spouse during the week, or getting involved in some sort of extra curricular activity that refreshes you.  There is a healthy balance though.  The time we take for ourselves should not take away from our other commitments, but should rather enable us to be better at them.  We need to set aside a little time here and there to replenish, so that we can be there to the best of our ability for others, and for the tasks ahead.  Come to the realization that you are important, what you do in life is important, and in order to effectively accomplish your time commitments, you must replenish so you can effectively accomplish your responsibilities and live a more enriched life by doing so.
Brandi Watterson
Brighton Academy, Owner
10400 Gosling Rd.
The Woodlands, TX 77381