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When you’re little, each day stretches on endlessly, 24 hours giving you more than ample time to explore the world before bedtime. Now older – and unfortunately the wiser – we know that 24 hours is a pittance with no time left over for self-exploration and discovery once school, work, and friends happen.

One of the most difficult things about being in university, I’ve found, is being able to set aside time for yourself – not counting the hours spent alone in a library with a pile of textbooks. And realistically, how many of us will choose to spend our limited free time alone over going out with friends?

This term, I tried to take some time out every couple of days to just focus on me. Whether it was just deciding to light candles all over my apartment, or to browse Indigo for hours until I found just the right book, I always emerged out of my ‘me’ time feeling just right on the inside! But, as much as I needed that little bit of time for personal indulgences, I’ve found that I’ve also been needing a more focused time for myself, a time to focus on hobbies and pleasures that are too often neglected, and pushed over to tomorrow.

For me, this is definitely finding time to write. As an English major, I do a fair amount of writing on a day to day basis, but the count for writing purely for myself, is at a 0. And perhaps its because of the fact that I do take a lot of writing for courses ¬†that I never feel like doing my own creative writing. At the beginning of this term, I decided that I would try to write in my journal everyday, even if it was a single sentence. It’s winter break now, and the last entry I have is dated August 29th.

How do you find the motivation to do something that you know is purely for yourself, for your own joy, without making it seem like a chore? With the wrong attitude, the most pleasurable of activities can end up feeling like a task, something I quickly realized when I tried to put “write for me!” on my Things To Do List.

Making sure I’ve been setting aside a little bit of ‘me’ time periodically, is definitely a baby step to being able to balance it all. Here are a few tips on how and when to take some time out for yourself!

1. Break Time

You know its time to take a break when your brain is constantly racing. Take a breath, and slow it down. Visit your most relaxing hideout, and tune into your iPod for a little time.

2. Say “No”

If you need to, make a small sacrifice to have your personal time. Whether that means meeting your friends a little later, or taking a break from work for a bit, some ‘me’ time will do you good.

3. Smile!

When out exploring the world solo, a smile is the dose of happiness and all the company you need.

Escaping from reality for a little bit to do your own thing, can never be a bad thing! With the right kind of reflection, you’ll come back with a clearer mind and a happier spirit. ūüôā

How do you make time for yourself in your busy day?

Image courtesy of Gabriel Rocha (a.k.a. BRIEL) (CC by 2.0) via Flickr