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A Therapist's Advice
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Making 'Me-Time' A Reality

Creating more personal time tops the list of goals many people want to accomplish. With work time, partner or family time and social time all demanding our attention, we are constantly juggling our day-to-day responsibilities. “Me-time” allows us to de-stress, unwind and rejuvenate. Taking time for yourself allows you to renew, heal and create reserves of energy and peace.
BY Lori Luedtke
PUBLISHED July 03, 2019
Take time for yourself. Just like on an airplane when they instruct you to put on your oxygen mask before you assist others, you must be strong enough to do everything that you are required to do as a parent. Whether you're wrangling toddlers, sleeplessly waiting for your teen to come home, caring for your aging parents – or all of the above – every person needs an occasional break for sanity's sake. This means taking time each day to do something for yourself.

"Me-time” allows us to de-stress, unwind and rejuvenate. Taking time for yourself allows you to...
  • Find that time you wish you had for yourself.
  • Take that moment you need to breathe!
  • Feel like you have the hours in the day you need.
  • Prioritize and make the time you need for important "me-time."

We lead crazy, busy lives and the one thing we never seem to have time for is ourselves. This problem seems even more prevalent as we work harder to meet the challenges of this new economy.

Creating more personal time tops the list of goals many people want to accomplish. With work time, partner or family time and social time all demanding our attention, we are constantly juggling our day-to-day responsibilities. Finding as little as 15 to 30 minutes a day of uninterrupted, relaxing “me-time” is challenging at best.

But we all instinctively know that when we take time for ourselves to pursue our passions, do the things that we enjoy, relax or even do nothing at all, we end up happier, healthier and feeling better. “Me-time” allows us to de-stress, unwind and rejuvenate. Taking time for yourself allows you to renew, heal and create reserves of energy and peace.

Why do we not plan more "me-time" in our schedules? Three common themes come to mind: not having enough time, feeling guilty or feelings of selfishness. The more giving and caring a person you are, the more these feelings seem to emerge.

Remember that no matter what we do, there are only 24 hours in a day, so you can't create more time. But you can clear some time by re-evaluating priorities, perhaps saying "no" more often and practicing smart time-management.

"Me- time” is not something you should feel guilty about. It's nothing more than taking some time to put aside your everyday demands and treating yourself to an activity that you enjoy. It gives you an opportunity to relax, refocus and recharge. And when you do that, you can come back to your responsibilities with greater focus, commitment and enjoyment.

It is very common to become so involved in giving to others that we fail to give to ourselves. And although I have personally observed this trait more often in women, there are plenty of men out there who feel this way too. Many husbands and fathers are so caught up in earning the living they need to take care of their families that when they break away from responsibilities to indulge in hobbies, reading or hanging out with the guys, they may feel like they’re being selfish.

If everyone else around you is worthy of care and attention, then so are you. You not only deserve this time, but you need it for your own well-being. A lack of making time for ourselves often leads to feelings of frustration, tiredness, feelings of being overwhelmed and out-of-balance. Without this time for ourselves we lose sight of what's important to us.

A book by Cheryl Richardson, “Take Time for Your Life: A Personal Coach's 7-Step Program for Creating the Life You Want,” provides some helpful tips for making more time for ourselves. Let's look at some ways you can make "me-time” a reality:

First, decide that you deserve some time to yourself each day. Stop feeling guilty for taking time out for you, and realize in the long run, it's a win-win for everyone. When you are tired, stressed out and pulled in too many directions, it is hard to give your best to all you must accomplish. Remember, self-care is not selfish – it is necessary!

Decide how best to spend "me-time”. How we each choose to spend free time is as individualized as we are. If you had an extra 15 minutes, a half hour, an afternoon or an entire day, what would you do to make yourself feel rejuvenated, relaxed and happy? Write a list and keep it handy when you begin scheduling time into your calendar.

Evaluate the things that are wasting your time each day. Do you check your emails constantly and end up spending more time on your computer than you planned? Do you answer personal calls in the middle of your workday? Run to the supermarket daily to pick up dinner rather than planning in advance and getting the week’s shopping done all at once? If this sounds like you, you must take the time to organize your responsibilities, and you will gain more free time than you can imagine.

Learn to say "no.” You do not need to oblige requests to do things that you don't really want to, don't value or don't bring you satisfaction and joy.

Ask for help. Delegate tasks or simply ask someone for help with chores that don't necessarily have to be completed by you alone.

At the beginning of each week, take a few minutes to designate specific time slots for all that must be accomplished—including "me-time.” Treat your personal time like you would any other appointment and make it non-negotiable. Put “me-time” in your calendar as if it were an appointment (because it very well could be your most important appointment of the day).

Commit to a minimum of 15-20 minutes of "me-time” every day. Do something (or nothing) that completely allows you to let go of responsibilities and releases your mind, allowing you to be alone with your thoughts.

Create a daily ritual you enjoy. This can be a bath, listening to music, taking a walk or meditating. Make it something you can look forward to. Years ago, when my son was small and life felt too hectic and overwhelming, I created a ritual for my "me-time.” I decided it was well worth it to get up 45 minutes before the rest of the family to enjoy my coffee and breakfast in solitude. To this day, that is my time to read my Bible, daydream or just bask in the silence. Looking forward to this time (and a coffee pot with a timer) gets me out of bed with a smile on my face. I also try to enjoy a bubble bath at the end of each day.

People today have been told we must have it all – careers, families, kids, community involvement and relationships. But all too often, having it all leaves us with no time or strength left for ourselves. As I was growing up, I felt like I always had to be surrounded by people. The older I have gotten, I have begun to appreciate quality time with just me. I like me. I like my routine when I am by myself. After my illness, I realized just how important “me-time” was. I have figured out that a balanced life is a happy life.

Take some “me-time” for yourself. Stop wishing you had more time to yourself and commit to carving it into your schedule. Rather than regretting your lack of time, change your approach and create the time using the tips above. You will be amazed at how a little bit of time to yourself can make a huge difference in your health and happiness!
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