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How To Successfully and Inexpensively Find Time For Yourself In 2024

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

It’s no exaggeration to say we’ve all heard the saying “New Year, new me.” 

It’s just one of those things we can’t let go. Whether we say it to actually mean something or we use it on Jan. 1 as a funny caption for our Instagram posts. In previous years, I’ve been the latter, quoting the phrase every now and then to make my friends laugh.

In 2024, however? I’ve gained a different outlook. This year, as cliche as it sounds, I think that with a new year should come a new me!

It’s easy to apply this new-found mentality to changing my style and/or personality, but that’s not the plan at all. I want to find a more balanced lifestyle in the simplest ways possible — and to help others do so, too.

Looking back on 2023, I realized that I never took time for myself. Between work, school, and being in a relationship, it was hard for me to find time to do things I enjoyed while avoiding the guilt of setting certain priorities aside.

I had this idea that spending time with myself had to be this huge spectacle because it was something that I very rarely did. I would often spend hours scrolling through websites and TikTok, looking for self-care products, routines, and different ways I could make myself feel better. However, I never found something that felt made for me.

Of course, there’s no harm in looking for ideas on the internet, especially if you’re stuck in a rut, but sometimes the fear of missing out (FOMO) on the latest trends we get from social media can lead to us buying things we don’t want — overshadowing our own desires and needs. 

It’s gotten far too normalized to follow trends and purchase items we think will help us when, in reality, no one — and no product — can decide what’s best for us other than ourselves.

After spending time with myself this past month and figuring out what makes me the happiest, I’ve learned that self-care and personal enjoyment doesn’t always require spending money or doing what’s popular. 

While discovering some activities, I’ve actually found that I really enjoy doing puzzles — as boring as it may sound to some people. 

Now, obviously, I don’t have boxes and boxes of them stored away, but with the computer I have for school and access to the internet, I was able to find an online collection of free puzzles that I can do whenever I want. 

I was able to find the perfect activity to wind down after work, and no matter how much it makes me feel like a grandma, it’s something I truly enjoy…

…and that is the only thing that matters.

It’s super important to realize and accept that spending time with yourself doesn’t require fitting in or hours of prep and dedication. These moments can be as simple as reading a book and listening to music on your commute to school, or even just taking 20 minutes out of your day to go for a walk or watch a quick sitcom episode.

Even if you’re not the kind of person to spend extra time using technology or don’t always have access to it, there’s no reason to fret. There’s a lot to be done without spending money and using the internet. 

For example, you can always:

  • Take a look at the bulletin boards on campus to find free activities and events 
  • Discover one of Toronto Metropolitan University’s clubs that may interest you
  • Meditate
  • Watch the sunset or stargaze
  • Visit the library and read a book
  • Experiment with ingredients in your pantry and try making a new dish 

Better yet, just take a nap! We can all use one every once in a while. 

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember what makes us happiest after being so caught up in the craziness of life, so don’t be afraid to take a moment and figure out what that is — even if that means trying new things. After all, these are just a few ideas of the endless possibilities that can help you find time for yourself.

Time may be of the essence, but at the end of the day, it really is you who gets to choose how to spend it. 

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve accepted that even though I can’t control everything, I can control my happiness. It’s important to remember that it’s not only about spending time with yourself, but about spending time for yourself. 

Prioritizing your peace is more important than anything else in the long run, so starting in 2024 and from here on out, let’s do just that.  

New year, new you? More like new year, happier you.

Katarina Zeni

Toronto MU '25

Katarina Zeni is a third-year journalism student at Toronto Metropolitan University. Having grown up in a small town out of the city and since having moved into the GTA, she has come across many different and fascinating stories, and people, in her everyday life. With a background in the arts and a passion for writing, Katarina seeks to use her experiences to highlight all the important moments in the everyday. Whether it’s a script, a poem, a novel, or a news story, she believes there’s always something to be written. Off the record (and off the clock), Katarina can be found watching her favourite 90s romcoms, checking out a new film in the cinema, or cuddling up to her cat Iris with a good book in hand. Follow her journey on Instagram @zenikatarina!