We put so much emphasis on having healthy relationships with our partners, family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and even pets. There’s nothing wrong with that, but how often do you push aside your relationship with the one person that really matters? You.
You are the one person you know will never leave you.
You will be there by your side through thick and thin. You have to listen to yourself complaining but also get to share in your celebrations and achievements. So why is it so hard to prioritize “You Time”?
I know we’ve all faced this decision at some point or another: You’re tired, sick, stressed or not in a good mood. A friend is going through hard times or a family member asks for a favor, but all you want to do is to stay home and take care of yourself.
Don’t get me wrong—there’s absolutely nothing bad or wrong about taking care of others. It’s a beautiful quality and the world needs more of it. But how healthy is it to put the needs of others first at the expense of taking care of yourself?
When you consistently push aside your need for solitude and quality one-on-one time with yourself, it’s easy to lose touch with your deeper needs, your core, your true essence.
This denial of personal time sends a strong message to your friends, your family, and your subconscious mind—the needs of others are more important than my own.
There’s this attitude of sacrificing for others, putting others first, as if somehow thinking about yourself is wrong, bad, self-centered and egotistical. But what happens when it becomes too much? What happens when you burn out, get overwhelmed, get sick, or get resentful?
If you can’t fully show up for yourself, are you ever really showing up for others?
When you’ve ignored something for so long—responding to an email, calling someone back, fixing something or hanging out with yourself—there’s a natural impulse to keep letting it slide rather than facing it.
Drop the story. Drop the guilt. Drop the judgment.
The process of getting to know yourself again may seem a little challenging or uncomfortable at times. It doesn’t have to be. Take that energy and transform it into a feeling of excitement, anticipation, and mystery.
Where to begin?
Lead by example.
Show others what it’s like to live a life where taking some “You Time” isn’t an act of selfishness or denial of others’ needs, but instead an act of self-love.
Nourish your body, mind and spirit.
Take some time to identify what you enjoy doing with yourself. Make a physical list and whip it out every time you’re unsure of what to do.
Ideas might included: listening to music, playing an instrument, reading, taking a bath, walks in the park, building things, gardening, journaling, meditation, yoga, cooking a delicious meal for yourself, looking up at the clouds, or just letting yourself be still and simply “exist”
Get comfortable with being solo.
This video helped me see being “alone” in a completely different light. It really highlights the beauty of spending time with yourself and of being alone.
The beauty is that when you cultivate a relationship with yourself, you are never truly alone. When you know and accept yourself for who you are, you always have a companion. You feel at home with yourself, no matter where you are or what’s going on around you.
Start out small.
Taking time out of your schedule for some “You Time” doesn’t mean it will dominate your life. Start out with having “You Time” 1-3 times a week, and work up to doing something every day. Take yourself on a solo dinner date. Go to a movie by yourself.
Make it regular
Everyone can find 10-15 minutes somewhere in their day to stop, be present, and do something solo that brings them joy. It can make a world of difference.
It may be simply taking deep breaths, reading a chapter in your book, doing some stretching, sitting outside and soaking in the sounds around you, drawing or doodling in your journal, writing, singing or taking a stroll around the block. Keep it simple.
Put it in your calendar
Schedule in “You Time”, just as you would a class, weekly business meeting, or social event. Take it as seriously as you would a doctor’s appointment or a class you are paying for. This will help create an association of importance and commitment to solo time.
Challenge yourself to work through your list
If you love to spend time alone reading in the bath, by all means do it! Just as diversity is important in the foods you eat, it’s also an important aspect of broadening your relationship with yourself and others.
Do things inside and outside. In noise and silence. In solitude and around others. Through movement and stillness. Allow all facets of yourself to be stimulated and explore uncharted, internal territories.
Move your body
Reconnecting to your body through movement is an incredibly powerful way to deepen your relationship with yourself. Dance and movement taps into difference areas of our being that we don’t normally engage with throughout the day. It can bring up emotions, thoughts, and beautiful forms of unique self-expression.
Have fun with movement. Crank up your favorite music and have an uninhibited solo dance party in your living room. Go for a walk or run and feel your connection to the world around you. Skip down the street or climb a tree and experience the pure joy and openness of your childhood.
People will move in and out of your life. Friends and family relationships will ebb and flow in how close you are to one another. One thing remains constant: You will always be with you.
So whatever form your “You Time” takes, make it special. You’ve got many years ahead together, so why not make yourself the best friend you’ve ever had.