Most of us lead busy lives, whether we’re working, studying, or looking after our family, pets and home. This can make it easy to file time for you under something for another day. However, looking after number one is essential for your physical and mental health – and investing time in yourself can help even the busiest week feel like less of a struggle.
Read on to discover some simple ways to make time for you…
Take mindful moments
Mindfulness is now something of a buzzword, and it’s a really simple concept. The NHS website explains mindfulness as: ‘Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you.’
Finding moments to be mindful can help calm a busy mind and improve mental wellbeing. Perhaps focusing on the smells, sounds, tastes and textures while cooking dinner could help you to forget the stress of the day? Or maybe go for a mindful walk in nature, noticing the feel of the air and the crunch of autumn leaves?
Eating ‘mindfully’ – so really enjoying and appreciating what you’re eating – can also help you feel more satisfied and prevent overeating.
Put it in the diary
A busy week can pass by in a blur, so scheduling some self-care slots is a way of ensuring that you don’t run out of time for you.
As many of us are creatures of habit, popping a regular lunchtime walk in your work diary, or a Friday catch-up call with a friend in your phone calendar, will ensure these things are on your radar every week.
Slimming World member Lucy (@lucyleax) blocks out a day to focus on her own wellbeing. She shared her self-care list – and it looks like a day very well spent:
Focus on your goals
Taking the time to focus on your goals is key to achieving them. But don’t worry about having to tackle them in one big bite. Breaking goals into smaller steps will make them much easier to work towards, whether that’s spending an hour planning your meals for the week, doing week 1 of Couch to 5K, or booking your place in a Slimming World group.
Slimming World psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulous agrees that setting ‘micro-ambitions’ can help keep us moving forward, saying:
“By being realistic with both your goals and your expectations of yourself, you’re more likely to hit your targets – and feel great about doing so, meaning you stay motivated and set yourself up for success in reaching that overall end goal, too.”
Beth (@bethswshrewsbury) is back on her slimming journey and taking her first step towards her target weight with a healthy, filling meal. She says:
“So today I walked back into group as a member, and it felt so good! The worst part is over! I have gained 7lbs over lockdown, and I have 12lbs to target. I’m going to take time for me and get myself back to target 😍 starting off with a jacket potato, bacon and cheese, with heaps of speedy salad.”
Make time to move
It’s often easy to let being active slide down our list of priorities, especially during the colder months when the sun is no longer tempting us outdoors. Yet moving more brings so many benefits for our health and overall wellbeing. As well as being fantastic for our physical health and supporting our weight loss, activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy levels.
Booking a class or a swimming session, putting activity slots on your calendar and exercising with a friend are great ways to firm up your feel-good fitness plans.
Cycling helped Lois through her son’s leukaemia battle. She says: “I felt at peace riding around the beautiful lakes, fields and canals of the country park. Those 55 minutes became my time to relax and unwind, letting go of all life’s worries.”
Hone your hobbies
Time spent doing something you enjoy is never wasted, and many hobbies also have the added benefit of leaving you feeling calm and relaxed. If you’re looking for a new hobby, here are some suggestions to get you started:
- colouring in: adult colouring books and fine-tip pens make this a mindful choice
- crafting: creating stained glass is a growing trend
- cross-stitch: you can buy some really cool kits online
- gardening: make a mini garden for even the smallest space with a terrarium kit
- photography: we all have a camera on our phones
- soap making: create natural soaps and bath bombs for a relaxing self-care soak
- journaling: use an app or go old school and put pen to paper
- baking: get your bake on with this easy slimming-friendly chocolate madeleines recipe
Phone a friend
Who says me-time has to be spent alone? Chatting to a friend can be just as restorative. If you usually like to meet for coffee, walking and talking with a takeaway is a tonic for both body and soul. The magic of the mobile phone means you can do the walk and talk with faraway friends too.
While on her journey to target, Tracy McCormack got her own walking group going at work. She says:
“At first, I could barely make it once around the building before I was too exhausted to go any further. It gradually got easier, though, and I found I could do two laps, then three… Before I knew it, I was spending my lunch breaks looping around the building. Some of my colleagues even started joining me, so that we could have a good blether while we walked.”
You’ll always find a friendly ear at your local Slimming World group. A weekly meet-up with people who understand the challenges of weight loss can be a vital support – so much so that those who belong to a slimming group, alongside people who care and share their goals, are more likely to succeed than those who don’t. That’s well worth making time for.
Kick back and relax
Sometimes, all you really need to do is absolutely nothing, and that’s OK! Give yourself permission to forget that to-do list and put your feet up – you could actually be making your weight loss goals easier to reach. As Dr Linda Papadopoulos says:
“Don’t put tons of pressure on yourself. Congratulate yourself for just making it through the week. Remember that caring for yourself – in all areas of your life – will help you feel more able to eat healthily.”
If you love a relaxing read, you’ll find lots of slimming success stories on the blog, and even more on our exclusive member website. Aileen (@slimwithaileen) has got the right idea – she loves a cuppa (see our main pic at the top of this post) and a flick through Slimming World Magazine in front of a cosy fire. She says:
“Just what cold wet Sundays are made for. I may be gone some time!”
What’s on your me-time to-do list this week? We’d love to know. Send us an email or share on social using #theSlimmingWorldblog. We hope that you’re doing something you enjoy – even if that’s nothing at all!
Join now with our exclusive NHS Better Health offer
Are you ready to put the focus on your health and wellbeing? When you commit to a six-week group membership before 22nd November 2020, you’ll get six weeks for the price of five, with no joining fee to pay.
If you’d prefer to join our online-only service, Slimming World Online, we’re offering £20/€25 off membership.