Oh, what we wouldn’t do for an extra hour or two during the day for some “me time.” But making yourself the top priority is hard when you have a seemingly endless to-do list of family, work, and school obligations.

Taking care of ourselves is a crucial part of living a full life.

Schedule it

We schedule doctor’s appointments and work meetings, why not schedule some “me time”? Pencil it into your calendar lender just like you would for any other important event. It may seem silly, but this is how you will be able to remind yourself, and hold yourself accountable, to giving yourself some alone time.

Make it count

While it may be tempting to spend your free time running errands or catching up on school work, commit to spending the time to pamper yourself. Start a craft, or enjoy a warm cup of tea. You don’t have to spend a lot of time, but it has to be for yourself.

Gimme 5

Even if five minutes is all you can muster, take it! Spend that 5 minutes breathing deeply, going for a walk outside, or just sitting quietly by yourself. That can be all it takes to recharge for the rest of the day.

Say no, gracefully

It is great to help out your friends and family when they ask. But if the favours they ask begin to cut into your ‘me time,’ it is okay to create a buffer. Tell them that you are happy to help, but you will need 20 minutes (or whatever time feels right) before you can do it.

Get up Earlier

You have probably heard this suggestion before. This time, actually give it a try! Try it for a week straight, and then decide if it is for you. Set your alarm for 15 minutes before you would normally wake up. Use that time to be quiet, write in a journal, or engage in any activity that restores you.

Use your shower time

Taking a shower may be your only naturally built-in alone time during the day. Take advantage of it! Purchase some aroma therapy products that you love and treat each shower like it is a spa getaway. Take some deep breaths and let the warm water wash away any tension that you were having.

Maximize your commute

Most of us spend a lot of time in our cars driving to work, school and running errands. Instead of listening to music or podcasts, use that time to enjoy a brief period of quiet.

Remember why it is important

Taking care of yourself can leave you feeling guilty; you aren’t spending time with your family or doing work. Keep in mind that carving out time for yourself is vital for keeping yourself healthy, and that means a happier family and more productive work and school life.