How to make time for yourself when there is no time

new year, new you, calm womanRecently a lot of women in my clinic have been feeling anxious about their diaries filling back up again as life returns to nearly normal. One patient said to me – you keep talking about taking time out but I Just. Don’t. Have. Time. 

I hear that a lot but I’m going to push back here because this is so important.

I used to believe that, and when I pile too many things on my plate I can get into that mindset again.  But here’s the thing. We do have time. Every day. A little bit. It’s about what we choose to spend our time doing.

If I cut down time doom-scrolling social media – I have time.

If I stop faffing around with pointless emails or window shopping online – I have time.

You get me?

There is no-one who is actually busy with mission critical things from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed. Life is just not like that – thankfully. We all have a little bit of wriggle room (although I appreciate it might not feel like that right at this moment). What we often have a problem with (hand up – I do this too) is ALLOWING ourselves to have time.

Did your body react to that? What did it do just then? And what was your internal voice telling you? That it’s different for you? That YOU don’t get to have time out?

Well I’m going to put it to you that that is not true.

You get to have time out. Other people around you, clients, family, friends, kids, dog – they WILL survive if you take a break for 15 minutes.

Let’s start with that.

And let’s choose to do something that truly nourishes you for that 15 minutes. No phones, no screens, no catching up on the washing. Just something for you.

15 minutes. Every day. No excuses.

Soon you’ll be taking breaks in your stride and everyone around you will expect it and there will be no friction with them, or your inner critic.

There are all kinds of theories on how best to rest. You can do the pomodoro method – which is 5 mins off every 25 or you may have discovered another way that suits the flow of your day. I like to keep it simple – start with one 15 minute break and increase that to two. That is a whopping 3 1/2 hours a week. Which is a really good start.

Some ideas of nourishing ways to take your break could be to: 

    • Take a short walk
    • Do breathing exercises or meditate
    • Make yourself a drink or snack
    • Go outside for some fresh air
    • Do some yoga or stretches
    • Read a book

You need to do this – because no-one else will do it for you and yet, everyone will reap the benefits when you are more rested. Especially you.

Pamela SpenceAbout the author

Pamela Spence is a medical herbalist who runs one to one clinics, teaches widely and advises industry leaders on product development. She has been advising Twinings as their herbal expert since 2016. To learn more about using herbs every day to support your health, get her free guide here.


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