by Ali Brown
Keeping up with business and social engagements sometimes means sacrificing our personal hobbies and relaxation time. But making time for ourselves, even on a busy day, can and will help us feel better and function better. Although it's admirable to spend time taking care of work, friends, family, and pets, it's even more important to spend time taking care of ourselves.
Here's how to carve out time for yourself and the things you love.
*Learn to say no. As women, we're often guilted into taking on extra work or attending meetings or events that don't interest us because we're too nice to say no. However, you need to practice saying no so that you can clear some time to yourself and say yes to the things that you want to do. There's no shame in skipping a committee meeting every now and then so you can get a massage. Or RSVPing no to a networking event if you really need a quiet evening of rest and relaxation.
*Don't forget family time. Family time can be converted into relaxation and bonding time together simply by selecting an activity the whole family can enjoy. Relationships can get a new lease on life too, if both partners decide to pursue a hobby or chosen form of relaxation together.
*Incorporate your interests into your vacation. Don't be afraid to take time off! You've earned it, plus it's a chance to follow through on hobbies and interests that might not fit into your regular routine. It doesn't matter if the vacation is with family or friends; it's about selecting opportunities that work for everyone - say, diving for you, lying on the beach for Jane, and bar hopping for John.
*Identify what makes you happy. Over time, our lives change - we pursue different careers, get married, have kids. Often we lose sight of what used to make us glow. Spend time remembering those magical moments and then commit a few hours each week to rekindling them. Ensure that you have a specific project in mind, because that eases up on the time it takes to get the project going. Saying "I want to write" is too ambiguous. Saying "I want to write a memoir about traveling to Japan" will give you more direction and focus.
It doesn't matter how much time you're able to spend each time on your personal project. The important thing is that you commit to doing it regularly and frequently so that it becomes a habit. Realize that once you've found the things you love to do, whether that's swing dancing, cooking Indian curries, or making pottery, you need to hold onto them and never give them up.
You may have to change your daily schedule or work and social commitments to fit in this extra time. But doing so will be beneficial in the long run, because the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment you get from pursuing your passions will make you a happier and more productive person.
© 2009 Ali International, LLC
Self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur Ali Brown is devoted to creating financial freedom for women globally through the power of entrepreneurship. To learn how to create wealth and live an extraordinary life now, register for her free weekly articles at www.AliBrown.com