Set Aside Time For Yourself in the New Year

After the mad dash to get everything done at work before the year’s end and the rush-rush of the holiday season, it’s no wonder so many of us end December fried, physically and emotionally.

If you’ve fallen to the bottom of your own to-do list over the past few months and find yourself exhausted and drained, take heart. Over the next, relatively quiet, two weeks, it is possible to not only recharge your batteries, but to plan ahead for ways to make time for yourself in the coming year.

Sarah on “Space Time Continuum”

When my brother-in-law asked my husband what he wanted for Christmas, he glibly replied, “Well, I’d really love it if you could find that wrinkle in the space-time continuum and buy me an extra week or two to just relax.” Everybody laughed at the absurdity of the request, and yet, wished it were a gift that could be given at the same time. It got me thinking. If someone you love has a hard time making time for himself or herself, maybe you can help that person find a wrinkle in time. I drew up a list of 50 ways I could give him the gift of time in the New Year, like a quiet breakfast in bed with the paper and no screaming 2-year-olds, an afternoon stroll with the family in a pretty spot, and a weekend without the kids. Then I made a plan to do all 50 things throughout the year, scheduling them like appointments in my calendar. I don’t know if it is the equivalent of two weeks, but it should make a noticeable difference.

Alicia on “Turning Off”

In this 24-hour, seven days-a-week, 365-days-a-year world we live in, it can be incredibly difficult to truly relax. One trick that definitely works is unplugging your digital items — literally. Make a plan to ditch e-mail, voicemail, instant messaging, the Internet, texting, and any other form of electronic communication you can think of. If you can swing a week, it’s ideal. But even if you switch off for only an hour a day, the act of tuning out for a bit gives your mind and body time to relax and recharge.

Here are additional ideas for making more “you” time in the coming year.

#1. Pick Something to Delegate
One of the surest ways to buy back some time is to identify one or two tasks on your mental or actual to-do list that someone else can do. We’ve piled more on our plates today than ever before and yet, even though we’re frazzled and exhausted, sprinting from activity to activity, most of us rarely ask for help. By enabling others to take on some of the work, you’ll not only have a much lighter load, but you’ll give them the opportunity to stretch their full potential as well.

#2. Find a Getaway Place
You don’t necessarily have to go far to find a good place to truly relax. Possible options include the basement rec room, a coffeehouse down the street, a hot bath, the gym, or a nearby walking trail. Simply designating a place that is your “getaway” means that you’ll have a way to easily trip the relaxation trigger and truly detach from the crazy world for a moment or two.

#3. Have a Cut-Off Time for Work
In this topsy-turvy economic time, it is easy to feel the pressure to burn the midnight oil at work. But studies have shown that productivity actually increases when people have time to relax and recharge. In the New Year, establish a time that you will leave work each evening, and stick to it. Even if you go back to work from home after a few hours, the break will help you clear your head, focus on other priorities (like your family or your health) and boost your energy.