How to Make Time for Yourself

 

Making Time For Yourself
People today are busier than ever. As I describe in my latest book, Conquering Cultural Stress, we over-schedule and over-work, which gives us no time for ourselves. We are conditioned to accept a mindset that tells us that we should live to work, while in many other cultures, people merely work to live. It’s time that we start to find a better, and more balanced, approach to work that allows us to take back our lives.

If your 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. work day also includes dropping-off and picking-up the kids from school, carpooling from soccer practice to gymnastics, a PTA meeting, making dinner and helping with homework, how can you possibly find time for yourself?

The good news is that finding some “me” time is almost always possible when you commit yourself to making a few simple adjustments. Here are some suggestions:

First, get organized.
Place a large calendar up in a main room in your house, such as the kitchen. Make sure to write down your schedule and activities for every day. Also, make sure you have a small calendar with you at all times—pick up a book-style planner or just use the calendar on your smart phone. When you have times and activities written down in a clear, easy to read format, you’re less likely to forget them and overbook.

Next, learn to say no.
You need to accept the fact that you can’t be all things to all people. Nor can you be in two places at the same time – nobody can. If you are already busy and know time will be tight and life will be stressful if you say yes to one more thing, do yourself a favor and just say no and scheduled it for a later time.

Just like all your other appointments and activities, schedule “me time” into your life and write it on your calendar. Block out at least a little time for yourself each day. It doesn’t have to be long; just make sure it is something. Depending on the time you have, here are a few wonderful ways to spend “me time.”

If you have 5 – 10 minutes

  • Enjoy a healthy snack while reading a news article.
  • Call a friend for a brief chat. Just a quick call to say hello and check in on how he or she doing is enough to reduce isolation and stress.

If you have 15 – 30 minutes

  • At the end of the night, make yourself a cup of hot chamomile tea and unwind with your favorite novel. This will allow you a way to get lost in stress-free diversion, escape your hectic life, and relax before bed.
  • Go on a short walk. It doesn’t have to be long or far, it just needs to be enough to allow you time to de-stress and reflect.
  • Take a hot bath; soak and relax in the tub. If you have little ones, make sure someone else is home to watch over them and keep them out of your space.

If you have 30 – 60 minutes

  • Treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure.Massage
  • Schedule a class you’ve always wanted to take such as dance or cooking.
  • Go to the gym and sweat it out. Exercising will make you feel better mentally and physically.

 

If you have more than 60 minutes

  • Go to a movie. Sit back and relax and allow yourself to escape for awhile.
  • Get a massage. There are few activities more relaxing than a nice, deep massage to release stress and loosen your muscles.
  • Whatever you decide to do, one way to guarantee quality time is to “unplug.” Put down the smart phone. The emails will still be there when you plug back in. Remember, this is “me time,” and that means time for yourself, not time for you to cater to everyone else.

These are simply suggestions to help get you thinking about ways to carve out your own “me time.” I’d love to hear your favorite ways to make time for yourself. Please share in the comments below.

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The Power of Touch

The Power of Touch

Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Click here to learn more about Dr. Murad.

 

The title of my latest book is “Conquering Cultural Stress”. It’s a topic I have done a great deal of research on over the years. Cultural Stress is the constant and pervasive stress of everyday modern living. Slower traffic, longer lines, a constant barrage of e-mails and texts, more deadlines, and the many other annoyances of day-to-day life in the “plugged in” age. All of these individual sources of stress combine to create a taxing effect on your body and mind that you probably don’t even notice. This accumulation of Cultural Stress takes its toll and wears you down so that when a truly stressful situation occurs, such as a car accident or a major error at work, you are less physically and mentally capable to cope.

Cultural Stress has been an increasingly common phenomenon, sped up by the incredible boom in technology over the last decade. And as wonderful as that technology is for production and communication, it also is a contributing factor to our stress levels. One of the best ways to reduce cultural stress is to get back in touch with people on a human level. The act of making physical contact with another, in a meaningful way, has been shown repeatedly to help reduce stress and heal overall.

Here are some ways you can start to reduce Cultural Stress through the healing power of touch:

1. Get regular massages

Multiple recent studies have found that regular massages can improve immune system function, decrease autoimmune problems such as lupus and arthritis, enhance alertness, and possibly even lessen the risk of heart disease. One study found that receiving regular massages can help lower blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones in those with hypertension.

2. Hold hands

When we experience friendly, affectionate touch, our bodies release oxytocin, aka “The Love Hormone.” Oxytocin lowers blood pressure, decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases pain tolerance.

3. Cuddle with your pet

Petting your dog or cat has been shown to lower blood pressure and evoke a sense of calmness, happiness and wellbeing.

4. Give a pat on the back for a job well done

The power of touch is as good if you receive it or give it. When someone does a good job, give them a pat on the back. It will benefit you as well.

5. Hug it out

A great way to diffuse conflict is physical contact. When things are getting heated with a loved one, consider “hugging it out.” The power of human touch will instantly reduce the friction.

6. High-five

Even a brief positive touch, such as a high-five, has been shown to boost serotonin levels and reduce the feelings of stress.

7. Embrace your loved one for no reason.

What better way to increase touch time than by showing affection to the one you love. Not only will this increase your physical contact, it’s great for your emotional connection as well.

8. Go One-On-One

Take a private Pilates or yoga lesson. Qualified instructors will adjust your form and help you stretch, increasing your flexibility and touch time.

9. Get a pedicure

For many, one of the best parts of a pedicure is the massage. It makes your feet feel better and lowers your stress levels.

10. Breastfeed

Breastfeeding releases oxytocin for both the mother and baby, decreasing stress and increasing pain tolerance.

Tenderness

Sometimes, without even thinking about it, you might go for hours – or maybe even days – without experiencing human touch. Make sure to get adequate touch time in your life to improve your health and reduce your Cultural Stress.

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