Time for Me

Start the new year with a focus on yourself!

Raising kids, meeting work deadlines, doing chores around the house—the to-dos never seem to end, do they? With all those people and activities vying for your time and energy, your own needs can slide down the list of priorities, especially this time of year! You scrap your good intentions to exercise more, plan healthier meals, or attend your next meeting—never mind going to the movies, catching up with a friend, or getting a massage. But the truth is, the more attention you give yourself, the happier you are, and the happier you are, the more likely you are to behave in healthy ways (and that includes shedding pounds).
     
So go for it: Adopt a "me first" attitude. Selfish? Not at all, say experts: "You'll have a better outlook, more energy, and greater stamina when you invest in yourself," says Howard Eisenson, MD, former director of the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center. And those benefits will boomerang for the good of all those folks who rely on you. That's what we call a win-win! 

In your meeting, you busted a few "me time" myths—such as "I'm too busy" or "Meditation's not my thing"—and discovered how even a few minutes doing something that taps into your passions can pay off big. It can be easier than you think to inject moments of fun, escape, lightheartedness and relaxation into your life. What you choose to do matters less than that it's something that you truly like to do. Here's a blueprint for making such timeouts a regular reality.

• Accept that spending time on you does not deprive others. "I had one client who actually felt anxious taking time to exercise because it wasn't work," says nutritionist Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD. "But will taking half an hour or an hour for yourself really hurt someone or something else? No, it won't."

• Be true to yourself. "Take time to reconnect with who you are and what you value," says Eisenson. "Try yoga or meditation, take a walk or listen to music, pick up an old interest or hobby." Rediscover coin collecting, playing an instrument, scrapbooking, or any other enjoyable activity that helps you unwind—and keeps your hands out of a bag of chips.

• Build a break (or two) into each day. Try to make that "time for me" a priority, just as important as tracking your meals or getting in 10,000 steps. The more it becomes part of your routine, the more consistent the payoff in the long run. It doesn't have to be much — even a two-minute "brain break" as you close your eyes and breathe deeply can do the trick. The key is to be sure it's something you enjoy and that will leave you feeling better and happier.

Stay focused until the New Year with our November/December 2015 issue of Weight Watchers magazine! Find the SmartPoints values for the 33 delicious recipes at weightwatchers.com/magazine.