Friday, October 30, 2009

Self-Care: Taking Time For Yourself

Here in Chicago, it has been raining for the umpteenth day in a row! The sky is grey and the weather is cold and windy. What a great day to stay inside and relax! We often don’t give ourselves permission to relax or take care of ourselves. Kristy Hatch, a counseling intern currently at The Awakening Center has written an article about the benefits of taking time for yourself.

While you are considering taking time for yourself, you might appreciate what you have in your life. There are many people who go hungry and need help feeding their families. The Awakening Center is participating in The Paulina Station Food Drive to benefit the Lakeview Food Pantry. This food drive will start November 9th through November 22nd. We will have a drop off bin in our entry way at our office (3523 N Lincoln, Chicago, IL 60657). Please bring some non-perishable food items the next time you visit.
Amy Grabowski

Self-Care: Taking Time For Yourself

I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say “I don’t have time to… (fill in blank).” I believe this is especially the case when it comes to taking time for ourselves. I am always curious to ask people “What do you like to do?” “What do you do to decompress?” “What are ways you take care of yourself?” “What does ‘self-care’ mean to you?” Some people say they enjoy yoga, to sit outside or to go for a long ride in the car. Many people know what they like to do, but they struggle to find the time to participate in the activities they enjoy. I believe the benefits of taking time for yourself are endless.

It Can Be A Refreshing Experience.
Many of us lead very busy lives. We can barely find time to eat, sleep, and shower. How is a person supposed to take time for herself while trying to juggle career, school, family, etc.? I have to remind myself that taking time for myself refreshes me when facing life struggles. When I am faced with a challenge, that is probably when I need self-care the most. There are times I feel I do not have time for yoga or to read for relaxation. But I have discovered if I do make the time for these activities I feel rejuvenated and able to face the next event on my schedule. Not only do I feel better, but I also have more energy.

Being a Positive Role Model
My parents started encouraging my sister and me at a young age to engage in activities that we enjoyed. I believe teachers, mental health professionals, coaches, mentors, and managers can also be this type of role model for their clients, students, employees, etc. They can encourage us to take time for ourselves and also provide examples of how they practice self-care. My parent’s message influenced me at a young age to understand that it is okay to take time for myself and to engage in activities that I enjoy, even if I am busy. I was able to apply their message throughout my life and into adulthood. I will admit this is not always easy for me, but spending time with my parents is a reminder of the long-term benefits of taking time for ourselves. This is one aspect (of many) in my life where I feel fortunate to have both of them as role models.

Increase Self-Awareness
Many of us may have noticed that as we get older our interests have changed, the activities we enjoyed at age sixteen differs compared to what we like to do as adults. I believe taking time for ourselves allows us a chance to explore various activities to find out what we enjoy. This can help to increase our self-awareness. What do we find relaxing? What helps us to reflect on the day’s activities? What helps us to focus on ourselves?

There are many reasons to practice self-care and many ways to practice in addition to the above suggestions. I believe taking time for ourselves can help us to enhance our life experiences. This is one way for us to feel cared for and refreshed. I encourage you take time out of your busy schedule to do something for yourself even if is a five minute walk around the block. Find out what you are craving and give it a try. You may discover a new life-long hobby.

Kristy D. Hatch


  1. thanks for taking the time to share your personal thoughts and feeling...for if we don't expose our self to others we will never know how others feel about us...I'm getting off the subject a little...but the idea is there to take time ...even if its just making a comment about made me think about something other than my job ...for a minute or two....thanks

  2. This is a great article for your blog, especially with the holidays right around the corner. I feel like I enjoy life but there are days when I need to "stop and smell the roses" especially while caring for a two year old and expecting our second in a short few weeks. Thanks for writing this and reminding me that I still have an adult life and need to give myself some TLC!

  3. What a great reminder that in order to give our best to others we need to make sure we are at our best. I couldn't agree more that taking some time for yourself -- even 5 mins -- can make you refreshed and positive.