Select a page

Give Back to Yourself – How to Free Your Time

It’s mid-February, work and/or school are likely back into full swing and those exciting New Year’s Resolutions may have taken a back seat.  With our North American lifestyle progressively getting more hectic and time-demanding, you must take time for yourself to maintain a healthy mind and body.  The feeling of not having enough time in the day can be very overwhelming; even when you make the effort to extend your day by waking up extra early or sleeping a bit later, it may be tough to squeeze some “me time”.  To make matters worse, when the day gets busy and stressful, the first thing to get cut is your “me time” (eating, sufficient rest, socializing, etc.).  I know it may seem bleak, but there are several techniques to help you treat yourself.

Take Control

You’re in the driver seat.  Grab a hold of the wheel and choose your path.  The power is in your hands to manage your time, make time for yourself, and control the quality of your life.

Learn to Say No

It can be very fulfilling to help others when needed, but learn to turn down tasks that are not reasonable given your current situation.  In addition, if you are unable to dedicate 100% to the project, favour, chore, etc., you will be doing the other party an injustice.  It’s ok to be a little selfish!

Get ‘Er Done

If something needs to be done, just do it…avoid putting it off.  Save yourself the mental anguish of that little voice in your head reminding you constantly that there is work left undone.

Recognize Energy Drainers

These are individuals and/or tasks that leave you feeling worn-out after an interaction.  Usually, it won’t take long for you to make a list of people or things that just suck the energy right out of you, whether mentally or otherwise.  Sometimes, you just need to sit back and let people handle their own issues and grow by learning lessons for themselves.  There is no need to neglect those you care about – especially when they need you – but moderate your involvement.

Establish Personal Boundaries

As a personal trainer, I find this to be one of the hardest rules to follow.  To make a decent living, I must accommodate my clients during their free time (which usually consists of mornings, evenings, and weekends).  Unfortunately, this tends to totally warp and stretch out my work schedule.  While still being as accommodating as possible, I have learnt to be firm in setting out boundaries where I will dedicate time to myself and avoid wearing myself thin.  You must remember, as important as it is to establish your boundaries, you must not allow others to consistently cross them.  Life will throw you curveballs where you must be flexible, but manage to hold firm and fall back into your zone when the dust has settled.

Be Realistic

Examine the expectations you hold for yourself.  Are they realistic? Are they based on what others are able to do?  Ensure that you analyze the conditions that surround your life and use that to gauge how much time you can dedicate to yourself.  Further, understand that this can change frequently and learn to move on the fly.

Plan Ahead for Efficiency

This in itself is time consuming, but in the long run it will do you good.  Try to plan out and organize the day ahead; clump activities and tasks that can be done together to use your time more efficiently.

Add “Me Time” to Your Routine

Make the effort to simply dedicate 10 minutes each day to doing absolutely nothing in particular.  Spend that time sitting in silence, go for a walk, have a soak, whatever your heart desires.  If you can make this a daily habit, you can rest assure that you are getting at least a little “me time” in your busy day.


You are probably very familiar with most of these techniques, but hopefully they will serve as a reminder.  Understand that school, work, relationships, and life in general will always be demanding – so turn your focus from fighting it and just go with the flow.  You will minimize unnecessarily wasting energy and can in turn use that energy to devote to bettering yourself.