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Exploring Womanhood > Mind, Body, and Soul > Articles

Making Time for Y-O-U!
by Kim Green-Spangler

Close your eyes for a moment and just think. Think back to your most recent success. Was it securing a new account at work? Completing a project? Finding the perfect outfit or costume for your child? Or finding the perfect furniture for a room that you'd been trying to redecorate? Now, what were you like at the time of that success? Were you operating on too little sleep, completely stressed out, and ready to "come out swinging"? Or perhaps you were well-rested, relaxed, and "in the zone"? If this last sentence made you roar with laughter, as you look at your planner that is crammed with dates, your PDA that is ready to start smoking from overload, and the picture that sits on your desk of those people you live with, whom you "think" are your family - perhaps it's time to stop and take a look at your priorities.

I don't care what anyone says, I firmly believe that without women everything would fall apart. You know the saying "Behind every successful man is a great woman." Well, hear, hear! Women are the glue that holds things together, but at what cost? Women are overworked, severely underpaid, often under-appreciated, and typically at the bottom of the food chain in each family. Is it because women allow themselves to be placed in this situation? Sometimes, but unfortunately most of the time the pain is self-inflicted. How? By putting everyone else's needs first, and letting their own become afterthoughts. Is this behavior healthy? No, it's not healthy to women or their loved ones, but it's a habit, one that must be broken.

It is time to realize that nurturing yourself is the first key to success. I know that busy schedules often preclude time for self, but this must be rectified. Taking time for self is more than just a luxury; it is a necessity. What are some of the benefits that you can think of? Would you be more loving? Have more patience? Have lots more energy to do fun, physical stuff? Feel more relaxed? Handle problems with more grace under pressure? I'll bet - and then some!

To make self-nurture a regular part of your day, you can begin by following the L-I-S-T. What is LIST?

Learn to put your needs first. This will take time to develop into a habit. But keep reminding yourself that you cannot take care of everyone else if you are too ill, too stressed or too busy. You are not being selfish, just practical! And the reward is so delicious too!

Indulge yourself in the things that you thoroughly enjoy doing, not the things that someone else has chosen for you to do, such as reading, exercising, meditating, walking, and whatever else brings you joy.

Schedule - schedule time for yourself EVERY day. Make an appointment with yourself. Write it in your calendar and keep the appointment with yourself, the same way you would with a client, spouse or child. Schedule time to relax, read, soak in a tub, call a friend, watch a DVD or go to a movie.

Try new things. Even the things that you love to do get stale when you don't mix in fresh ideas. It will keep you excited and clamoring to have a little bit more time for yourself.

While it would be wonderful to devote large blocks of time to nurturing self, it is completely unrealistic to believe that the busy women of today have that much time available. So before you determine that you don't have enough time to dedicate to yourself each and every day, please note that self-nurturing can be accomplished in as little as 15 minutes each day. Fifteen minutes is long enough to re-energize a tired mind, soak aching feet, or meditate away stress.

So make today the first day for creating a habit for yourself that will provide both you and your family members with a lifetime of love, by providing the best you possible.

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