On taking time for yourself

What do you do when you start to get overwhelmed with the seemingly never-ending list of things you need to do... for other people?

When you're an adult, you have a lot of people and things pulling you in different directions. You  might have a boyfriend, or a husband. You may even have kids. You have rent, or perhaps a mortgage, and you definitely have bills. You probably have a full-time job, or several part-time jobs, or maybe you're spending your time looking for a job. You have friends to keep up with, you have family to keep up with, you have errands to run and houses to clean and food to prepare.

None of these things are bad things. In fact, if you have most of these things, you're doing pretty well in life. But it's so easy to let these things take over so much of your time that you can get to a point where you feel like everything you do is for someone or for something and it's never for you.

I feel like this a lot. I find it so easy to get lost. I'm no busier than anyone else is, but I still find it difficult to find a balance between getting done what needs to be done and doing things that make me feel fulfilled and energized. I have to  be diligent and make sure that I still have things going on in my life that are for me. It can be hard to figure out what those things are, so if you struggle with that, here are a few of the things I do that might work for you, too:

I read a book for pleasure.

No really, this is one of the simplest things I can do to feel good: make sure I'm always reading a book for pleasure. I read between clients, I read on my lunch break, or I read before bed. I like books I can escape in, stories that capture me and create a world I can imagine.

I learn something new.

Something that you've wanted to learn, something that makes you feel smarter, something totally crazy and mind-blowing, something simple that you wish you'd learned a long time ago. Take a class, watch some YouTube videos, download an app. In the past, I've taken a pottery class at a local arts workshop, and I learned how to do makeup from Pixiwoo and Jaclyn Hill on YouTube; I'm currently learning French using Duolingo. Learning something will make you feel like a newer, better version of yourself!

I do my work somewhere fresh.

I spend a lot of time working on blog posts, photos, social media, etc. for AGG, and for most of the time I've been blogging, I've done that work at my coffee table in my living room. Sometimes (usually) with the TV on. I get distracted, I watch whatever's on TV, I snack the whole time, and I feel generally unfocused. 

A few weeks ago I started spending my extra time at a local coffee shop not far from my house, and it has made all the difference. I love the coffee, food, and atmosphere there; I love that it's big, that there's lots of light, that there are always people there but it's never crowded. I love the comfy sofas and the big giant community table. And when I'm there, I get shit done. I am so productive, and that feels so good!

Last Monday I spent the day visiting people and running errands, and at the end of my day I told Husband I wanted to go to the coffee shop just for a little while, so I could feel like I did something for myself. That hour changed my whole mood.

I joined a group.

I sang in an a cappella group in college, and it took over enough of my life that when I graduated I didn't really miss it. Then a few years out of college, I realized that the only time I sing is in the car. A friend of mine contacted me about joining a new Richmond a cappella group which, at that point, was almost completely made up of other people who sang a cappella at the same school where I went, and I immediately said yesiwanttodothis (it helped that there were three to four other people involved that I already knew).

That was back in 2012 and I am still loving being in the group! We get together every Sunday and practice, and we perform occasionally. More than anything, though, I love the company of these people. They are some of my favorites, and I love to see them every week. It's two hours a week that I get to just relax, have fun, sing, and be in my own element!

I go to see a movie alone. 

It surprises me how many people are terrified of going to the movie theater alone. I love it! If there's something out that I want to see and Husband doesn't want to see it, I'll go to a Monday matinee, get all the snacks I want, and just enjoy the movie.

I wake up early.

No really, hear me out though: I've finally reached that point in my life when I prefer waking up early to sleeping in. Ugh, I know, right? I remember when I was a teenager and I could never see myself waking up early on purpose. True story: my whole mood can be affected by what time I get up in the morning.

I love sleeping -- believe me, I do -- but even more, I like to go to bed feeling like I did everything I wanted to do that day. Sometimes that requires waking up early, especially on weekends. These days, I prefer to give Husband a ride to work on Monday mornings just to get myself out of bed and get my day going. Even better: if I have errands to run, I do it straight after dropping him off. By getting started early, I've left myself so much time to spend the day how I want!

I spend extra time in front of the mirror.

This one isn't going to apply to everybody, because not everybody finds it relaxing to apply makeup in the morning... but I do. I allow myself plenty of time in the morning to get a cup of coffee, pull up Hulu or Netflix on my iPad, and lazily apply my makeup. I just sort of follow my instincts about what I want to do that day.... this foundation or that? Pink blush or coral? Winged eyeliner or smokey? It's a creative process for me, and I love to take my time with it instead of rushing. If I give myself enough time, I usually end up discovering something new.

I hope that some of these are things you'd like to try, or even better, things that make you feel happy like they do for me. I would sincerely love to know what sorts of things you do for yourself.

What makes you feel good? How do you separate yourself from the push and pull of adult life to remain grounded?

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