I have been reading your blog since 2009 and have recently been loving your Periscopes!! I do have a question that I hope you can answer in a blog post or on a Periscope.
How do you not feel guilty about sitting down to read? During nap (I have two girls – 2.5 and 1.5), I usually have homemaking chores to do but if I have extra time during nap, I always feel guilty sitting down to read! It always feels like there’s something else I should be doing. Any advice? -Emily
This is such a great question, Emily! I think so many moms and women struggle with making time to do things that will replenish and refresh and refuel them.
Why? Because it can feel like there are so many, many more important things you should be doing with your time.
You Are No Good to Anyone When You’re Completely Exhausted
But here’s the thing: you are good to no one if you are exhausted. Read that sentence again and really think about it.
You are unable to be a good wife, a good mom, a good co-worker, a good friend — or whatever hats you wear right now — if you are feeling run over for dead.
When you are completely drained, completely tapped out, and completely burned out, you will not have anything worth giving to others.
Yes, You Need to Take Time for YOU
You need to be pouring into yourself if you want to be able to pour out to others. You can’t just give and give and give without replenishing the supply and expect that you’ll be able to keep going and going and going. That’s like assuming that you can live without food or drive your car without refilling it with fuel.
We try to do it as a person, though, don’t we? And it’s usually in the name of “not having time” or that “there are so many other more important things to do”.
But if you never make time for replenishing your supply, you’ll soon have to make time because you’ll be so tapped out that you’ll be forced to.
I’ve found that I’m so much healthier, happier, and energetic when I take time to refuel my tank. And I’m also able to invest much more in my marriage and my kids, as a result.
How to Get Over the Guilt
When I remind myself about how important replenishing my supply is, it helps me to feel less guilt over making time for reading and other things that refuel me. But I’ve found other practical ideas that help, in addition to just giving myself a good pep talk:
#1. Budget a Time Block For It
When you make taking time to read part of your daily list of to-do’s, you’re automatically giving yourself permission to make it a priority.
#2. Make It a Reward
Tell yourself that once you’ve cleaned the bathroom, or filed those papers, or finished that work project, or folded and put away the laundry, you get to set the timer for 15 or 30 minutes and enjoy a book.
#3. Remind Yourself of the Impact
Reading is one of the best ways to grow as a person, to challenge ourselves, to grow, and to stimulate our minds. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to talk yourself out of taking time to read.
#4. Find an Accountability Partner
Ask someone to hold you accountable for taking time to refuel and refresh yourself. Maybe they can text or email you a few times per week to check in and make sure you’re making it a priority.
#5. Get Creative!
Look for creative ways to fit reading into your life. I’m always on the hunt for nooks and crannies where I can fit more reading in. Check out my posts here on how I find more time to read.
What other advice and ideas do the rest of you have for Emily? I’d love to hear!
P.S. Watch my video from this morning on How to Make Time for You Without Feeling Guilty.