How to create time for yourself

In an ongoing series on health, nutrition and becoming a better you, Modern Mississauga has teamed up with local fitness and health enthusiast Julie Cropper to provide tips, advice and inspiration to help you become the best you possible. Got a question for Julie? Send it to

In a perfect world, we’d all have time to work out. But let’s face it - sometimes it doesn’t seem like we have nearly enough time to fit everything in. Over the past year, I’ve developed a passion to let everyone around me know that there is time. Where there’s a will, there’s a way and I’m making it a mission to try and get everyone around me to include exercise in their daily lives. I’m not saying that they have to run a marathon or compete in a triathlon, but I do want everyone to start moving. I’ve learned the power of what regular exercise can do and I want others to experience it too!  

The problem of course is many of us “don’t have time.” With work, family, children’s activities, shopping, cleaning, we simply feel there aren't enough hours in the day. But the key to finding time is to understand that you have to create this time for yourself. Take a hard look at your schedule and re-evaluate your priorities. I’ve learned to shift my priorities and make time for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I still catch myself falling back into my old way of thinking and wanting to finish that extra load of laundry instead of taking that slice of time for myself. But then I remember, I am a priority and so are you. You owe it to your body, mind and family to make exercise one of your priorities. Here are a few things you can easily do to get moving.

Take five

If you don’t have an hour or even thirty minutes every day, I suggest you start by taking 5 minutes to yourself. Some exercise is better than nothing. Short and speedy workouts can do wonders. Take a quick walk during your lunch break or even try some body weight exercises at your desk.

Socialize on the move

When a friend invites you for dinner or drinks, suggest an active time out together like a yoga class or going for a walk instead. Catch up over a bike ride or try a Zumba class together. 

Think positively

The next time you catch yourself saying “I’m too busy to work out,” try replacing the thought with “I choose to make myself a priority” or “I’m willing to be active today.”  Over time, these positive statements will help you make better decisions and realize that it really is okay to take some time for yourself.

Ask for help

Now that my kids are a little older, I have some extra helping hands and have learned to ask for help. Can the kids fold the laundry? Can your spouse begin dinner prep? Determine if there’s some household duties which can be shared so you can take time to stop at the gym on your way home or go for a walk after dinner.

Be yourself

By now, you probably know what you don’t enjoy doing. It’s time to find what you do enjoy. Don’t be afraid to try different forms of exercise. A friend at my gym encouraged me to join a running club, which scared me at first, but I soon realized I LOVED to run. Find what works best for you and you’ll see that squeezing it into your busy schedule won’t be so hard.

Bring the family

Encourage the gang to join your activities and make it a learning experience for the kids. Take them for a bike ride or after dinner walk. Seeing that mom and dad take time to be physically active will show that it’s important for them too. I bring my family to my Sunday morning running group and to boot camp at my gym so they grow up feeling good about exercise. 

Block it off

If you have an appointment on your calendar, chances are you will make it to that appointment. Why not do the same for your workouts? If you plan your workout, you’re less likely to cancel.

The farther, the better

It’s true. It drives my children crazy sometimes, but I always pick the farthest parking spot so I can get in a few extra steps. It only takes a few extra minutes and if you’re in a rush, try power walking!

Julie has a passion for health and fitness and is on a mission to help others be the best they can be at any age. Follow her on Instagram @julescropper.

The goal is to squeeze in a little exercise whenever you can throughout your day.   Try not to think of exercise as another “to do” but as something for you. 
You need it.  You deserve it.