Feeling guilty about taking time for yourself?

I hear it from my clients everyday, and I even catch myself thinking it from time to time.  "There are so many things that I should do that I just don't feel right taking time for myself."  Sound familiar?

Our everyday hustle and bustle keeps many people so busy that we continue to put off things that we enjoy in order to make time for chores.  We get so caught up thinking about what we should do that many of us forget about what we want to do.  And when we do steal a minute to enjoy our coffee, or an hour for a leisurely walk, or a weekend getaway, we are left feeling ashamed of or guilty about our "wasted time."  We spend so much time and energy working that we forget to live.  No wonder so many people feel unhappy with life!

I had someone ask me what to do to feel more happy.  When I asked how much time she spent doing things that made her feel happy, she realized that she hadn't spent any time at all.  "It's not really that simple, is it?"  Of course it's that simple!  If we do nothing that makes us happy, then we will not feel happy.  This means that in order to feel happy, we need to spend time doing things that make us happy. 

I know it is difficult to justify spending an afternoon watching a favorite movie or curling up with a book when your in-box is overflowing at work, there are errands to run, and there are partners, children, parents, and pets clamoring for your time and energy. And the more you have on your to-do list, the more you need that time for yourself.  I like to think of it as charging our batteries.  Our cell phones and laptops stop working if we don't give them time to charge. The same thing goes for us!  We need nutritious food, good sleep, and time enjoying life to charge our batteries.  If we go too long without any one of these things, we quickly run out of steam.

I would like to challenge each of us to carve out time for ourselves every day, even if it is a only a five-minute pause to smell the fresh air and enjoy your surroundings.  Taking care of yourself is a top priority, and there can be no better way to spend time than spending it enjoying life.  Your loved ones will appreciate the new, fully-charged you.