There are times I set appointments with myself. Blocks of time where I make myself inaccessible so that I can read, think, draw, blog, or simply putter around my house.
When I was younger, I didn't feel like I could do that. I felt like whoever needed access to me should have it. As a result I spent portions of my 20's and 30's drained and a tiny bit resentful.
By having a practice of "making appointments with myself" I create space to recharge. That way, when I do re-engage with the rest of the world I am more open and at peace. I lose that hurried, stressed-out feeling that a life that has lost its margin creates.
I've found that close relationships need these same kind of appointments. John and I have "date night" but we also have some evenings at home blocked off so that we can make dinner together and simply sit close and watch TV. (Cuddling is a major recharger for me. If John isn't available, sitting cuddled with Pepper, my Australian Shepherd works too.)
If you are a responsible, loving person, it is hard to learn that not every need has to be met by you nor do you have to comply with every expectation that people have of you.
The funny thing is that when I made this shift, I started getting more of the important things done. Not "more done." In fact, there is some "strategic neglect" in some areas. But I definitely became more productive in the things that really matter to me.
You know what things recharge you,, and if you don't, it is incredibly valuable to carve out the space to find out. Make the appointment with yourself. Then defend it just as if you had committed to someone else.