Thursday, September 29, 2011

Take Time For Yourself

Lavender Lime Aromatherapy Candle, at Lather

Women are the caregivers of the world. We take care of our husband/partner, children, relatives, friends, and pets first. Only then do we stop to take care of ourselves. But if we don't take good care of ourselves, we'll have nothing left to give to others.

This autumn, give yourself permission to be a little selfish sometimes. The more relaxed you are, the better a mom you will be. The healthier you are, the better you can take care of your elderly parents. The more you laugh, the more fun you'll have with your children. The more time you spend making yourself happy, the more happiness and joy you'll bring to your friends and family.

What are you going to do for fun for YOU this fall? Long, dark evenings, cold rainy/snowy weather, and beckoning warm fireplaces encourage homey activities.
Will you take a class, join a book club, join or create a dinner party club, write, journal, blog, work on your scrapbooks, go see fall movies in the theater, actually use that gym membership, work through that pile of books by your bed, rubber stamp and do paper crafts? Paint, knit, crochet? Save up your Starbucks money for a month so you can treat yourself to a professional massage instead of overpriced hot beverages every day? Take your best friend out for a cocktail and a manicure, leaving your kids at home with their father or your best friend's husband and kids?

What will you have to do to be able to indulge yourself in some fun activities? What will you have to give up? If you have children, you'll need to budget for babysitters, or budget time to swap with your children's other parent, or perhaps trade off with a friend or neighbor. What will your activity cost? If you take a class, you'll need to budget money for the class, materials, and gas - plus budget your time for the class, moving housekeeping chores to another timeslot or letting some slip by temporarily.

Martha Stewart Pen and Ink Set, on Amazon

In my case, I've already long ago bought the colored pens, rubber stamps, stickers, paper, magazines and books I want to play with and enjoy this fall. I should never, ever go into a craft store for the next three years. What I need to do is buckle down, carve out time and religiously enforce it: "This is my crafting afternoon." "This is my cooking Sunday." "This evening, I will craft while I watch TV." "Tomorrow night, I will enjoy attempting to create handmade Halloween cards."

I'm not going to force myself to read, craft and cook if I am not in the mood that day. But I really enjoy doing all those things. Rather, I'm going to make myself watch less TV, go out to fewer dinners, and spend less time goofing off on the computer (such as checking Facebook repeatedly). Then I have more time to spend quietly by myself enjoying creating some things at home.

You'll also need to think about your entertainment time budget. I get mostly done with the shipping part of my work every day around 4pm. I take a break, read magazines, eat a snack, do my nails, do laundry, whatever. By 5pm I'm cleaning, and by 6pm I'm cooking. After a 7pm dinner and twenty minutes of cleanup, I have maybe two hours left before bedtime. At least one of those hours is spent working on my business.

So basically every night I probably can count on just one hour for entertainment. How do I want to spend it? I'm limiting the number of fall TV shows I am going to watch.

Your family members may initially resist and complain. Just keep smiling and firmly insisting that you need your Mommy time. Set kids up in the other room with crafts of their own, or make Daddy do something fun with them for an hour every week so you have something extremely important for your creativity, health, and peace of mind: UNINTERRUPTED time just for YOU.


This magazine writer and mother lives in Seattle. She blogs about writing, books, and occasional delicious looking recipes like this twice baked butternut squash. I think you'll also enjoy her photo inspiration posts.


Chestnut and Herb Canistrelli (Chocolate & Zucchini)

45 Meatless Comfort Food Recipes (Martha Stewart)

Knitted Scarf Projects (Martha Stewart)

Lentils with Feta, Corn and Tomatoes (

Mushroom House and Fairies Cake (

Nutmeg-Spiced Pear and Walnut Cake (Baking Bites)

Penne and Cauliflower with Mustard Breadcrumbs (Bon Appetit)

10 Cheery, Colorful Rooms (House Beautiful)

Top 5 Foodiest School Lunches (Bon Appetit)

Wild Rice Recipes (CHOW)

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