Do you find that you have little free time? In a recent survey of women, Real Simple Magazine found that one-half of American women don’t have enough free time and what little free time we do have is constantly interrupted. Does this sound familiar to you?
Children, parents, partners and chores all seem to infringe on what little free time women have today. Not to say that we don’t love and cherish those important people in our lives, but for our own well-being it’s essential that we have some time to care for ourselves and recharge.
If you feel you are one of those people who have little free time and what little you have is continually interrupted, you may need to get active, in order to carve out a little more time for yourself.
Demands—those things you must do, which can include watching the children, managing household finances, cooking, grocery shopping and going to work--are expectations of those people around you. They can eat up a lot of our time, leaving little for rest and leisure. But our own internal shoulds also contribute to our sense of having little time to spare.
Women, in particular, often have a long list of shoulds. Shoulds are those expectations that we have internalized and continue to place on ourselves. For example: “I should clean the house myself, even if I work long hours and can afford household help” or “I should not hire extra child care, even if I can afford it”
We often have internal myths that perpetuate our cycle of busyness and time pressure. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- “I can’t ask my partner for help with chores because he/she won’t get do it the way I like them.”
- “If I did less around the house everyone would feel like I wasn’t taking care of it.”
- “If I don’t clean up messes immediately, I am a bad housekeeper.”
- “I do not deserve time off to take care of myself”
- “Others (i.e. my partner or children) should notice how much I do and offer to help.”
If you relate to these statements, it may be time for you to re-evaluate all those things you feel you “ought” to do. A healthy lifestyle requires some level of balance between what you want to do and what you are doing out of a sense of obligation. Letting go of some of those internal obligations can allow you to care for yourself and in the long-run have more energy as you care for others.