How to Stop Apologizing for Taking Time for Yourself

Your time is precious and some of it should be spent on you

Take your me-time
Getty Images/Rick Gomez

The other night I overheard two working moms chatting and one of them said , “And I’m sorry but at the end of the night I just needed to have some down time. Ya know?”  Why do we have to apologize for that?  We are entitled to a break!  Why is it that we feel we have to do that “one more thing” and then we’ll feel satisfied?  Is there a level of perfection we need to hit before we hit the sack? 

How can we stop apologizing and just take a break?

Recalibrate your needs

Start by taking an inventory of the things you need to do on a daily basis. 

Next, question why each need made it on the list. 

Thirdly, analyze if you need to fulfill each of these needs or if someone else (like the kids) could instead.  The goal of this exercise is to scrutinize and question what you need to do to gain a new perspective on your life. 

Lastly, define what your top priorities are.  Mine are connecting with my children, my husband, and my career.  Sadly enough I didn’t list a need to connect with myself!  My list was a reflection of what I needed to do for everyone else. 

Discover your wants

There’s so much we want to explore and learn about yet sometime we feel like there’s too much that needs to be done before we can do what we want.  Our needs outnumber our wants like going to the spa or going to bed early.  When you have me-time, what do you want to do?

  If you made a weekly list of what you want to do for yourself, what would it include (see my previous post about what you’d include in your self-care plan). 

Discover your fillers

When you are not fulfilling a need or a want how are you spending your time?  We have these fillers in our life that we use as a crutch.

  These fillers like surfing the net or checking social media platforms doesn’t contribute to our true needs or wants.  They are just a distraction because we need a break.  Ask yourself what your fillers are and notice how often you do them. 

Do you see where you could be misusing your time and energy?  These fillers cause stress, not relaxation, because you are putting off your needs or wants.  You can use your needs and wants list to break the habit of using fillers.

Make downtime an unapologetic habit

The goal of decompressing is about checking in with yourself the coming down from the daily grind.  Start with a dose of self-discovery.  Ask yourself, what happened today that felt good, that felt bad, and how can I make things better tomorrow.  Then close the subject.  The day needs to come to a mental end.  It’s hard to wake up the next morning when you feel the weight of yesterday still on your shoulders.  It’s time to decompress with the self-replenishing tools like the ones mentioned.

Next try spending 30 minutes, by yourself, each night, doing something on your want list.  Do something that you enjoy doing what is not on your need list.  If guilt creeps up believe that you’ve fulfilled your needs to the best of your ability (because you have).

We, as working moms, are good at change management, conflict management, time management, and energy management.  If you want to advance your life and career you need a solid foundation to build upon.  It’s time to excel at self-management!