Reduce stress? Yes, please! Find more joy? Sign me up! Time and time again, coaching clients say they feel at peace and find the most joy when they do the things that light them up inside. However, many choose not to take time for themselves because it’s selfish. News flash – taking quality time for yourself is not selfish!

The truth is it may be one of the most selfless choices you make.

Here’s the thing – you have a proverbial piggy bank full of energy. You wake up each day and, assuming you received a good night’s sleep, your bank is full in the morning. But, if the minute you wake up, you only give, give, give, then at the end of the day your bank will be empty.

Does this ever sound like you? You drive a friend who had a flat tire to work, pick up the slack on a project when a co-worker is sick, swing by a going-away happy hour on your way out the door, give the same friend a ride home, volunteer to take kids to soccer practice, fill in at bunko, and then set your book aside to listen to your husband gripe about his day…again. Who or what deposited energy or joy into your piggy bank?

My hunch is, at the end of your day, you’re drained. Sure, you may have enjoyed several of the activities you did. But, one choice after another, you gave of yourself depleting all the energy you had. Overcommitting was a vicious cycle I used to repeat often. And without fail, it always ended the exact same way – me worn and weary from the demand of all the obligations. I know I am not the only person out there who does this. I’ve seen you. I’ve talked to you. I’ve coached you.

We have to know when to stop. We have to see when our well is running dry, our bank becoming empty. And, we have to recognize that we are the only ones who can refill it.

How do you do that? These 3 simple steps can help you find more joy in your days and reduce the sense of overwhelm you feel.

  1. Discover what brings you joy. Think about the last time you genuinely smiled. What were you doing? Where were you? Who were you spending time with? Go for a walk. Meditate. Pray. Connect with the God of your understanding. Get on your mat. Take three deep breaths. Read a book. Listen to your favorite song while you sing along at the top of your lungs. Watch the sunset. Go. Do. Create. Find whatever it is that brings you joy and do more of it so you can show up fully present for those around you!
  1. Show up for yourself daily. Take a minimum of 15 minutes each day to do an activity that lights you up inside and brings you joy. If we can’t show love, kindness, and joy to ourselves, how are we supposed to share it with our kids, spouses, coworkers and the world? We can’t. Our piggy bank is depleted and we are the only ones who can fill it. Let go of the guilt that comes with taking time for yourself. When your piggy bank is full and you’re happy, you show up in a new light offering more of yourself to the people and projects around you.
  1. Write it down. Keep a journal of how you showed up for yourself each day, noticing how that feeling of joy you created for yourself had a ripple effect on the rest of your day. Rather than dwelling on all that went wrong in your day or how you failed yourself once again by not completing your to-do list, shift your perspective to notice the abundance of joy in your life. Dedicate your journal entry to what went right in your world.

Me, I want to show up in the world, fully present, wholeheartedly giving of myself and my gifts to those people or situations around me. Therefore, I take time to myself. Do I think I am being selfish? Not at all. I don’t mind saying yes, helping out a friend or offering up my talents! But in order to do so, I can’t be burned out. My bank can’t be empty.

Yours can’t be either! You’re the only one who knows when your bank is getting low and needs to be filled. Take quality time with yourself daily in order to reduce your stress and find more joy.