Ah, what we wouldn’t do for an extra hour or two during the day for some “me time.” Most of us tend to feel guilty when we spend time alone as it sometimes feels as though we are neglecting the people around us, our work or our hobbies. With endless things to do on a day to day basis, you may even ask yourself where in the day you’ll actually be able to spend some time with yourself. By choosing to spend some time on your self-care, it trickles down to every other part of your life.
The most important part of ‘me-time’ is to remember why it is important. Carving out time for yourself is vital for keeping yourself grounded, healthy, essentially happier and more resilient. Everyday we are giving of ourselves to others – and it’s almost like starting the day with a full glass and by the time we get to the end of the day it’s almost on empty. Popping little things into your daily routine to keep topping up your ‘glass’ will ensure you have enough of you to share with others without feeling like all you’re doing is giving of yourself and not getting anything back in return. The value of ‘me-time’ is to ensure you are setting aside time to focus on your personal needs. Interestingly enough, something I’ve realised is that I can’t wait for someone to offer me some ‘me time’ – I need to own this and be intentional about it. It’s the little things that count…taking a little breather before jumping into your evening routine by either doing some exercise, having a bath, putting your slippers on or simply spending a few moments in your garden pottering around. I suppose it’s almost like finding ‘moments’ – big or small during your day that energise you, which ultimately keep filling up your ‘glass’.
Something I discovered recently which I’m finding really helpful is the Calm App. What I love about it is that it brings 10 minutes of calm into my day and I can choose to listen to it at any stage. It’s always with me as well because I’ve always got my phone with me and I carry a pair of small earphones in my bag so I can listen to it anywhere. Also having a little puzzle book in my handbag fills those ‘waiting around’ moments with something to do.
According to an article written in Woman & Home, self-care means going for a walk, meeting a friend, or staying in bed; whatever you need to reboot. “Tune in to how you feel and go with it,” suggests life coach Jayne Morris. The key is little and often. Time spent alone is often a great reboot and allows the mind to process unresolved uncertainties and most importantly to gain perspective over that which seems to be weighing down on our minds.
How to build ‘me-time’ one step at a time taken from the Woman & Home magazine
A ‘me-time’ of one minute
If you have one minute of the day between meetings or before starting your day, take that one minute to breathe deeply, give yourself a relaxing hand massage or simply just step outside for a breath of fresh air.
A ‘me-time’ of 10 minutes
Psychologist and author of The Self-Care Revolution Suzy Reading recommends you attempt to master the art of savouring. Simply start to anticipate everything you’re looking forward to, whether that’s a coffee with a friend, a party, or a holiday. You might also want to dip into your mental archives to unleash some sunny memories. Spend time jotting down your thoughts in a journal. According to research the odd detour down memory lane can significantly lift your spirits, and those who wrote about happy memories were happier after the exercise than those who didn’t.
A me-time of 20 minutes or more
Use this time to rest and relax. An afternoon nap or catching 40 winks is believed to reduce anxiety, boost concentration and increase your energy. According to Professor Jim Horne, 15 minutes is the perfect nap time before your body begins to have the adverse effect and you become more exhausted as opposed to feeling rejuvenated. This being the case, if you feel as though you are going to over sleep, take this ‘me-time’ outside. Go for a walk, try an exercise class in your lunch break or wander around your favourite shopping centre, as long as the focus is on you alone. Remember to breathe – the deeper we breathe, the clearer we think and the more aware we are of our minds, bodies and selves as we focus inwards.
Spending some time focusing on yourself has so many psychological benefits. ‘Me-time’ is known to relieve stress and pressure as it allows you to gauge perspective of the things that often feel overwhelming. Being constantly under pressure and feeling like the world is about to cave in will no doubt increase your stress levels and may eventually lead to burn out. Taking a small break is a great way to reboot your brain and ensure that your mind isn’t constantly in overdrive. Sometimes forcing yourself beyond your own capacity has the adverse effect and you may feel as though you are getting nowhere and causing unnecessary and unwanted pressure. Taking a few minutes off may relax your brain and in so doing, you may find solutions quicker than you thought. Remember that it is essentially to align your actions to your objectives and you cannot do so if you are trying to focus on too many things all at once.
This isn’t something we always think of, however, when people can see we have time for ourselves, they will also see that you have a strong level of self-respect and are able to give attention to what is important to you and the things that shape who you are. Me-time is believed to better the way in which we see ourselves and puts us in a far better position to love, support and offer care to those in need. Most importantly ‘me-time’ means doing something you enjoy. The quality of your “me” time is more important than the quantity. Put yourself on aeroplane mode for a few minutes a day – it’s the best thing you may do all day.