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Time and Self-care

Do you tell yourself you don’t have time for food shopping or preparation, eating healthily, sleeping sufficient hours, or exercising regularly? Do you lament that you’re so stressed and overwhelmed, there’s not a minute to take care of yourself? You may place the blame on there not being enough hours in a day but, really, time isn’t the problem. Your beliefs are! Until you recognize and debunk the lies you tell yourself about being too busy, you won’t resolve your food, weight, and self-care problems.


In truth, there are people who lead super demanding lives who take excellent care of themselves and folks who do next to nothing all day who treat themselves poorly. Regarding self-care, time is a factor, but not the most crucial one. It’s just a common and handy excuse for not doing right by you. When things are important, you carve out a space in your life for them—taking a walk at lunch or bringing wholesome food along when you travel. It takes no more time to take good care of yourself than to do a lousy job. What matters is what you do with your time. There seem to be two types of people: those who waste time complaining how overwhelmed they are and those who feel the pressure and work doubly hard to get done what they need to do.


Why? People who do a great deal and still manage to take terrific care of themselves aren’t ambivalent about self-care. It’s a must, a given, a fact of life. They work their schedule around good self-care to make sure they’re treating themselves royally. They enjoy—even thrive—on having lots to do. Sure, they get snowed under with family or work responsibilities on occasion, but they accept the challenge and meet it. They don’t get bogged down in negative feelings about the load they’re carrying and feeling like a victim, or gripe incessantly that they can’t get things done because there’s no time.


I challenge any of you who believe you don’t have time to eat healthily, enjoy food, exercise regularly, get a good night’s sleep, and make space for you and you alone—on more days than not—to find the time. Instead of looking at your schedule and seeing all you have to do, look for ways to consolidate and squeeze in what’s essential—eating well, sleeping enough, and taking care of your body. Assume you’ll find a way and problem solve until you do. Stop using “I have no time” as an excuse for not doing the things you want to do. Better to acknowledge you have mixed feelings and recognize that the reason you’re not doing the self-care thing has little to do with the number of hours in a day. Get to the root of your “time” problem and you’ll find that time was never the problem after all.