Make more time for yourself in the new year // Cozy white sweater by the fireplace //

Dress: (similar here and here) | Earrings: (similar here)

Having been a blogger for several years now, I feel like life accelerates faster with each passing year, and that means I rarely have time for myself these days. I never felt it essential to set me-time in the past, but 2017 presented a profusion of challenges that left me feeling out of balance many times. I’m realizing how essential it is to break off and recharge in order to run a successful business. That aside, I can’t express my deepest gratitude to you all for following along all these years.

So, in a conscious effort to live a healthier and improved life – all the while giving back – I’ll be starting a new segment on NotJessFashion: wellness and business tips. To kick us off, here are six ways you can make more time for yourself in the coming year.

1. Start every morning

If you’re looking to make more time for yourself in 2018, start small. You’ll be surprised by what 20 minutes alone with a mug of hot tea (or hot water with lemon) can do. I know 20 minutes can be hard to commit at first, so try starting with 15 minutes everyday in January, and then increase it by 5-10 minutes each month. Making this a priority when you wake up first thing in the morning will help you jumpstart the day on a more energized and productive note.

2. Schedule it

Because you’re reading this right now, I assume you’re as plugged in as I am. So why not make the most out of your resources and schedule “me time”? You can easily set up reminders on your calendar or to-do list, and when it pops up, don’t ignore it. Think of this time to yourself as an important deadline. Shut everything off, take slow, deep breaths, and express gratitude for all that’s happening. But be sure to do it at the same time everyday so that it becomes routine. You can use this time to read a book, write a journal, or stretch.

3. Being willing to give up

I have to admit that I’m a control freak and perfectionist. It’s hard not to be when you’re running a business. However, one of the most important things I’ve learned to do this year is delegate – and I plan on doing more of it next year. Letting people in and allowing them to help you will allow you to run a much more efficient business and help you focus on the things you’re best at. Your willingness to give up control will help you make more time for yourself, your family, and the small things that matter. This is also a critical business skill that will take you far in life.

4. Consume less

Social media is a conundrum! One one hand, it’s the outlet that paved the way for my creative career, but on another, it’s extremely time consuming and can be so draining! The solution: consume less but consume better. When you schedule alone time, shut off your phone, TV, and/or computer – literally disconnect yourself from technology so that you can focus on the physical things in front of you rather than emails, projects, and the competition. I’ve learned that we can spend long, useless hours browsing Instagram if we’re not conscious of it. Unplugging for at least an hour a day will naturally force you to consume less.

5. Say “No”

I also happen to one of those people who never say “No” whether it’s a small favor, a late outing, or a huge last minute project. Strive to make 2018 a time to stash away the guilt and shame, and just say “NO” when you feel like something is interfering with your life. Don’t worry about disappointing others or losing out on an opportunity. When you take care of yourself (especially when it comes to recharging), you actually gain more in the long run.

6. Get into a routine

By advocating a routine, I’m not encouraging you to live like a robot and do the same thing day in and day out. You should always be flexible because life is unpredictable. It’s more about knowing what needs to be done and when – and when it’s not done, you know to eventually circle back to it. Routines give you structure and security as well as a timeline for how to map out and organize your day.

How will you make more time for yourself in 2018?

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