As I publish this post, my daughter starts school and this means that the little luxury of summer break is now over and I have to get back to reality. This time of the year for the past 8 years always reminds me of the golden era of my existance called non Mom life. This was the time I could choose to stay later at office or wake up a little late.
Those luxuries vanish the moment these little bundle of joys are born (sometimes we doubt that too). But, the reality hits us pretty hard when we have to lead the same disciplined routine today as we used when We were little kids.
Its not just that, as a working woman, the pressure of balancing work and personal life always brings daily challenges and we suddenly find ourselves short of time to do anything that we usually loved doing which is – Time For Ourselves. I used to be there totally, and while it did kept me busy and made the time fly by, I realized that I no longer had any energy or drive to prioritize myself. More than anything, I always found excuses when I thought about myself.
There was always either something at the job, something that my spouse needed, or something about my daughter and if there was nothing else, I had some home stuff that I needed to finish. Decorate a room, cleanup something, you name it. Working out was the least important thing to do even though my body needed it.
Even when I did manage to get a day off to be by myself, I always felt so unproductive to not be doing something that, I ended up working even more in those days and rather than feeling rejuvenated, I felt tired and didnt want to go back to the routine.
Office became an escape from home and the other way round and I constantly felt sandwiched between both. I think by now, you have found a similarity there. If you have, I would love to know what and how have you been able to overcome it?
If the answer is NO, let me give you some helpful things that you can do right now starting today that will help you finally find time for yourself even if you are busy as hell.
All these things are something I started practicing in my life and have helped me get to a point that I no longer feel like I am living my life through SOMEONE ELSE.
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This is really really key in feeling your best and also having enough time to do that. I have to talk about it first, because lets face it, most of us think about it the last. Getting ready is the most time consuming thing when you are in hurry as well. I sometimes wish I was my husband who takes like 10 minutes to get ready, huh! All he needs is a shower and wear the same set of clothes, jeans and a tee, or jeans and a shirt. Do his hair and he is done. Come on, why is it so difficult for us. Why looking good for women is so much more complicated. Not really!
It does not have to be complicated at all if you have a plan for it. I usually have a mental idea of what I will be wearing the next day the night before because, for me looking good is half the job done and it also makes me feel amazing and confident. This depends on how my day will be like, checking the weather the night before is also a good idea.
But what this does is gets the last minute what to wear guessing and getting frustrated with part sorted out. Now, its important that you have a system and that system happens with practice.
Download the free printable sheet with 30 days of outfit ideas that will take the guesswork out of your life and will help you get ready quickly when you are in a hurry. There are also loungewear pieces that you can incorporate in your outfits and still make it look stylish.
Even if you dont do a full blown routine, you still have some sort of steps that you take in your daily makeup routine. So, that is still makeup and I am including you in this umbrella term of makeup routine.
If you like to put on makeup for work, I seriously recommend finding steps and ways you can make it faster, or even doing the same makeup over and over again so that you get used to the steps and that makes it way faster than trying out something new. Plus, if you are headed to work, you probably like to keep your makeup to the minimal.
I do have an easy everyday makeup routine that you can read in the below post.
It all comes down to food in every family, its the most important and most time consuming task. If you dont do this, please start today. If you are already doing this, let me know in the comment section, how it has helped you carve out some time for yourself. I am sure other women who are reading this would get some help and inspiration from it.
But when I speak about Meal Planning, I am not asking you to increase work for yourself, because lets face it, meal planning often feels like that. But, what you should focus on when planning meals for a week is to see how you can cook in bulk a dish and repurpose it another day for another meal. When I switched my meal planning to that, my life became so easy. If you are an Indian, you know how much more work goes into any dish, so bulk cooking it and eating it on another day of the week with other side dishes really really saves time and money. But most importantly, it will save you the energy of thinking about dishes and shopping for groceries. Trust me, it changed my life. Yes, my daughter is a picky eater, but she got used to it. And if not, my next tip helps.
Its hard, and I totally get it, I used to feel tremendously guilty doing this for the longest. As women, we have been brought up with a culture of being submissive. Doing what is asked of us. And as a Mother or a wife that manifest 100 times over. I get it, I was there. It was tough for me to say No to my husband when he really wanted to go hang out with friends, because it made him happy and I love him, so I should care about that. But, think about it, if you are not happy with going out, you probably wont enjoy that gathering or party. Which means you might get resentful and unhappy, which in the long run does not help either of you.
Now, I am not saying to say No always or outrightly, you need to be able to prioritize yourself and express why is it that you are saying no and try to come up with a balance. Again, this is an example.
You should also practice this with your kids and thats important for the both of you. Your child understands rejection or denial and would grow up to be a strong individual who would want to achieve things. I am an example. Now, I am not a Parenting expert so please dont account me for that, this NO is actually for you. If your child insists on a task that he or she is capable of doing themselves, you should let them do it. And why not, how else are they going to learn.
When Saanvi started making her breakfast, I cant tell you how thankful I was to her. Well, during school days we would still make breakfast for her, because she was always running late, but over the weekends, I could sleep later. I think yo get it!
This is a touchy feely subject and most women like myself hate the idea of asking someone else for help. I get it. I was like that too. I had the hero complex, or you can call it being competitive. I wanted to do everything by myself. I am actually the biggest DIYer out there.
But it burned me out. I felt so empty somedays and other days I barely had any interest in doing anything else. It was because I was trying to do everything. As women, we anoint ourselves multi taskers and that is the biggest nonsense I have to tell you.
Scientifically, it is proven that human beings cannot multitask, our brains are just not wired for it, so how do we actually multi task, by not paying a 100% attention to either of the tasks. Thats right. That is how we achieve it. While I am really feeling proud about being able to take and office call and send an evite for Saanvi’s birthday. Let me tell you, I heard nothing in that call neither did I do such a good job of making an awesome evite.
You get the picture dont you. Ask your partner for help. When I started doing that, I really felt more cared for and felt a sense of being heard when my husband started helping me with cooking. As a matter of fact he volunteers someday to cook so that I can sit and relax and finish my blog work. And that makes me happy and feel special.
I read this book called Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte (though haven’t completed yet, but this is satirical and really witty so I bought the book)
I promise to write a review of the book once I finish it.
It takes a lot of practice to do this, but an easy way of starting this self discovery is by taking breaks and being by yourself. Its scary to leave your family by themselves. I get it. But you will love it, I promise.
When I went on a 3 week work trip by myself, I was in tears because I knew I would miss my family so much. I kept crying and all that. You see, I had never parted from my daughter even though she was 11 at that time. But those 3 weeks were a memorable time for me.
I got my confidence back. I travelled and shopped and did things that only I would want to do without having to compromise. And now, I would love to do it again.
Taking breaks is so important for yourself. It rejuvenates you, and gives you a blank slate to start over when you get back to your routine. Try taking a day off from work and family and do something by yourself.
If you cannot take a full day off, try delegating some house work to your family members, or maybe let that laundry pile for just one day. The world is not going to end if you have a few extra pair of clothes in the basket to wash. But you might actually feel happy that you can rather sit and probably finish your favorite magazine, or even enjoy the dessert that yo never had time to relish.
Its important to prioritize yourself amongst everything else, because you see your longest and deepest relationship is with yourself and only with yourself. And at the end, you will only have yourself to live or die with. I know this sounds really harsh, but this is the truth and there was no other way to say it.
As I find some other distinct ways that would keep helping me to carve out more time for myself, I will update this post. I hope you Subscribe to the Blog and stick around for more content.