Life has a habit of pulling us in all sorts of different directions. It can sometimes feel like everybody wants a piece of us, and we have no time to offer. It can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. At times, it can leave us feeling like we have nothing left to give.
Depression Can Make It Harder
Depression can cause us to feel overwhelmed or stressed. It can make everything we do take an extra-long time, because our thoughts and movements can be slow. On top of that, we might have medical or counselling appointments to go to which can be a further stretch on our time.
Before we try and make time for the things that are important, we need to work out what it is that’s important to us. For some of us, playing football every Thursday might be important. Others of us might love spending time with our families. Some of us might get enjoyment from taking ourselves off to climb big hills. Everyone will have different priorities. Different things are important to different people.
It might be helpful to write down a list of all the things we do that take up our time and ‘spoons‘. Then we can think about which ones are the most and least important to us.
Notice Where Time Goes
Sometimes it’s obvious where our time goes – on sleep, on work, on commuting. Sometimes we’re not quite sure where the time goes! We can end up spending a lot of time watching TV, staying late at work, or mindlessly scrolling social media. Those sorts of things can be a real time suck. There’s nothing wrong with doing these things, or doing anything else. But it can be worth noticing how much time they take, it in case it’s something we want to change.
At times, our boundaries can get a little bit wonky. We struggle to put ourselves first. We spend so much time doing things for others that we don’t have the time or energy to do the things that we need to do for ourselves. Straightening out some of those wonky boundaries can help us to free up some time.
No is one of the hardest words to say. We fear disappointing others. But we are not superhuman. We only have so much time and energy. We can’t do everything. So we have to learn to say no to things that we don’t feel are important, or don’t have time for.
There are things we do in our lives that should only take a certain amount of time, but we spend much longer on them.
For example, we might be contracted to work a certain number of hours, but in reality we stay late most nights. Being a little stricter with our time can free up loads of hours for us to do other things. It’s not an easy thing to do and can take a lot of practice. We might even feel guilty. But we have to remember that if we are only paid for a certain number of hours, then those are the only hours we need to work. If we can’t get all our work done in that time, then we need to speak to our manager. They could help us reduce our work load, or employ us for a greater number of hours.
Ditch The Pursuit Of Perfection
Lots of us are perfectionists. We have to get things exactly right. We spend a huge amount of time trying to make everything that we do perfect. It means that simple, quick, tasks, can take hours. Letting go of perfection can be really hard and take a lot of practice. But it can also free up a lot of time.
Allow Time For Enjoyment
When we are pushed for time, the things that we enjoy often slip to the bottom of the pile. The more we have to do, the further they slip. We become over-worked, over-stressed, and don’t have any kind of release or wind-down time. We are important. Enjoyment is important. So we should try and fence off some time for enjoyment every week.
Don’t Forget Self-Care
Another thing that slips off the to-do list when we get busy, is self-care. We procrastinate booking a much-needed doctors appointment. We stop washing our hair often enough. Our stack of washing piles up until we have no more matching socks. Self-care is important because we are important. We matter. We need to do our best to look after ourselves. If we don’t, then we can’t possibly do our best in other areas of our life. We need to ear-mark some time each day or week to do the self-care things that we need to do.
Managing our time can take a lot of practice. It can take a lot of trial and error to get things balanced. Depression can make it harder. Some weeks we think we’ve cracked it, and the next week we feel like we’re drowning again. But we are not alone. Most people struggle with balancing their life commitments. It is possible to get to a point where things feel more balanced, though. It might take time, but we can do it.
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