Do you ever get to the end of your day and realize you did nothing for you?

Folded laundry? Check. Wiped runny noses? Check. Prepared three meals? Check. But read that book you’ve been wanting to read? Not so much.

With the new year having just begun, it’s the perfect opportunity to reset and make yourself a priority. Practicing self-care creates a ripple effect that positively impacts everyone in our lives.

As a working mom with three little ones, a husband, and a litany of responsibilities, I understand it doesn’t always feel practical to make ourselves a priority.

I have lived through seasons where I did little for myself — and it was awful. I was not the best mom, wife, friend, and colleague because I had hit rock bottom — physically, mentally and emotionally drained.

My Fringe Hours

To be the best woman you can be, you must bravely say, “I need time for myself” and then act on that statement.

If you need help in embracing the brave of self-care, let me encourage you with a simple activity. Go here and print a free time-tracker (or simply use a calendar or notebook), then for the next, week track your time.

Tracking your time is an easy, eye-opening exercise to help you really understand how you spend your time. Be sure to document everything, from meetings to meal prep.

At the end of the week take a look at where your time went. Consider these questions as you review your days:

  • Where did I spend my time?
  • What items are non-negotiables (e.g., work, taking kids to school, etc.)?
  • What time was wasted?
  • What activities could be streamlined in my schedule? (For instance, does doing laundry every day make sense, or would it be better to do it as a marathon on one day?)
  • Am I doing too much? Do I need to be better at saying no?
  • Did I do anything just because it would have made me feel guilty to not do it?
  • Would it be helpful to ask for or hire help for any of the things I spent time on during the week?
  • Did I take time for myself? If so, how much time?
  • Overall, how did I feel this week? Happy? Tired? Stressed? All of the above?
  • How did these emotions impact me and my activities?

These questions are just as important as the tracking itself because you are able to really dig into your time habits and where you would like to spend your time.

Once you complete this exercise, you will be able to more clearly see how you spend your time and the choices you need to make to be a better steward of it. Hopefully you will also be able to identify pockets that you can use to pursue your passions.

When we live out our unique gifting and passions, Jesus clearly shines through us.

Lord, help me to use my time wisely. Help me to identify times that I can pursue the gifts You have given to me. May I be someone who makes a positive impact on others because I am caring for myself. Thank You for grace in this process. Amen.

For more on the importance of practicing self-care, pick up Jessica’s books The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You and/or My Fringe Hours: Discovering a More Creative and Fulfilled Life.

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Jessica,
    In two days I will celebrate my 2nd anniversary with a wonderful man, who, everyday asks me this question, “So, what are you going to do good for yourself today?” The fact that he asks me that question affirms that “doing something good for myself” is a priority and not a frivolous luxury. I still battle the guilts when I do something that seems selfish, when in reality, when I take a little time for me, I am a much better and kinder person to everyone else. I like to think of taking care of myself as “preventative maintenance”. Great post this am!!
    Blessings and Happy New Year priorities to all,
    Bev

    • Joanne Peterson

      Congratulations on your 2nd year anniversary. This is truly something special to celebrate with Dave. This is wonderful he every day encourages you to do something good for yourself! He’s a keeper :) Hugs, Joanne

      • Bev @ Walking Well With God

        Joanne,
        He’s a “keeper” for sure!! Thanks for sharing with me in my happiness!! xx

  • http://sunnyand80.org/ Meg Bucher

    This is so good. It’s so important to make a conscious effort to allocate time to render a healthy heart. For me, in some seasons it’s getting up earlier to be present in the quietness of my house before everyone wakes up. Other times, it’s in getting off the phone and tuning in to something else. Yet still, sometimes pausing my work to have coffee with a friend is healing and refreshing.
    Learning to be in tune to God in each season of my life isn’t easy, and I don’t always get it right, but my restless mind will signal my lack of priority to renew my spirit.
    As a mom, we are built to give and give and give..it’s in the moments we take that we find He gives to us.
    Happy Saturday!!
    Megs

  • Mary Haynie

    Jessica,
    I wish I had seen this 28 years ago. My girls are adopted and at 2 and 3 they came into my life. I loved them, wanted them but it was a change from working and coming home to relax. I was mainly a stay at home mother, working 1 to 3 days a week at a preschool where my children went to school.. Loved my time but by the time bedtime came, I was exausted. When my husband and I divorced, I had all of the care, worked fulltime while they went to after-school care, and homework. I did this all with the Lord’s help. My girls are now married and I now have a loving, caring husband.
    Mary

  • Tracey Casciano

    So true and what a great reminder that it is important to make time for ourselves!