You devote so much to your friends, family and career that you might have lost sight of the most important person in your life: you. Here are our top tips for setting aside some important alone time to help you live a happier, healthy life.
Make time to move
Whether you prefer the soothing stretches of yoga or the fast burn of running, regular exercise is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Not only does working out make you look and feel better, it's been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. And staying in shape is vital for preventing disease and ensuring a long, healthy life.
If the gym's not your thing, you can still find a way to exercise every single day. Try biking to work a few days a week or taking a stroll around the block on your lunch break. Take your dog for a walk after work. Or lift a few hand weights before bed. If you really want to take care of yourself, schedule a little "active alone time" into every day.
Make time to breathe
Even if you're not religious, it's important to create some alone time for you and your spirit. If you have a place of worship, make a commitment to attend a service once a week. If you feel more inspired by nature, take a Sunday morning walk along the beach or a hike through the hills at sunset.
Use this time to pray, mediate or just be with yourself in peace. If you're not sure what to do, start by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. As the air moves in and out, you'll feel the world around you drift away as you become present with yourself in the moment.
Make time to rest
If you're like most Americans, you don't get enough sleep at night. You probably just brush it off as a fact of life in today's busy world. But getting regular sleep is more important than you may realize. Sleep is the body's time to heal and rejuvenate itself. Besides the ugly side effects like dark circles under your eyes and acne breakouts, lack of sleep can affect memory, concentration and even your moods.
The only way to ensure you get more sleep is to plan for it in your schedule. There will always be something you could be accomplishing instead of sleeping, so you have to set a time to go to bed and stick to it. Get the most out of sleep by avoiding caffeine after 4 p.m. and not watching intense television before bed.
Make time for fun
You probably think having fun means being around your friends. But there's something to be said for learning how to have fun on your own. If you're creative, find an artistic outlet that allows you some alone time, like drawing or painting. Starting a journal can be a great way to stretch your creative muscles while also getting to know yourself better. If you prefer the outdoors, plant a garden or go fishing.
Every now and then, take yourself on a fabulous solo date. Explore a park alone or check out a new library exhibit. Dinner is the ultimate date, so if you feel self-conscious sitting alone in a restaurant, bring something to read while you're waiting for your meal. The goal is to make time to be by yourself and learn to enjoy your own company.