Having time for yourself is an essential pillar in overall wellness. When we look at the main areas of self-care, consider your relationships (romantic and otherwise), parenting, work/school, other commitments, and then time for yourself to enhance your mind/body/spirit/emotion connection. When you let “me” time out of your overall picture, you will soon begin to falter in other areas. You may become more irritable, depressed, withdrawn, and even resentful of others and other commitments instead of enjoying the balance of life.
It is not always easy to get in “me” time, but even a few minutes a day can provide a positive difference in overall wellbeing and functioning, and ease stress. I am more fortunate now to have a husband to help with the kids when I need some time, and we try to help each other in this regard; but this certainly was not always the case, and I had to strive to find “me” time as a single parent to two kids with chronic illness…. and I still do on a daily basis. The more I learned I needed it to enhance my own mental health, and how much this helped my interactions with my kids, my work performance, the health of our little family, other relationships and commitments, and my overall wellbeing; the more I made it an essential part of my week. I credit my mom with being the one to finally push me to “do whatever it takes” to get some time for myself, because she saw how stressed and overwhelmed I was… and I am now a firm believer in the do whatever it takes! Consider a short period of time daily, and a longer time once a week!
Some tips for getting in “me” time…
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier each morning to have some quiet time before you start your morning routine.
- If you aren’t a morning person, build 15 minutes into your day somewhere else. Alone time before bed. Alone time in your room after work. Alone time in your car before or after work or another commitment. Just take some time to sit and be still with your thoughts.
- My kids are quite adapted to me needing 15 minutes of quiet after work where I will go into my room, shut the door, change out of work clothes, and maybe lay down for a minute. Just that 10-15 minutes is a huge help and gets me set up for the rest of the night with more patience and less irritability!
- If you feel like you can’t even find the “me” time to get done daily tasks, such as making phone calls or running errands… choose right now to find the time! Consider how much time you spend on social media or watching TV. Those tasks aren’t fun, but you feel so much better when they are checked off your list… and then make some time for real “me” time (downtime… not errands and tasks!)
- Don’t be afraid to let the daily task list go every once in a while to get in some “me” time. When I know I need time, laundry, errands, cleaning, etc. can wait!
- If you have kids… put on a movie and you read a book in the next room. Take them to the park and bring a book or just sit and relax. Ask your partner or a friend or family member to watch for a bit once a week. Use a babysitter just to get out of the house (this was worth it and something I gave up other things to have the money to do this once a week just for 3-4 hours – tremendous benefit to my wellbeing!) This is also a good tool for finding date night with your partner, also essential for wellbeing, and cheaper than you might think when you think of all the other things you spend money on that may not be necessary!
- And this lead me to… consider your priorities. What can you cut out in terms of time to find some “me” time? Or cut out financially to be able to use that sitter, or to be able to spend on beginning a hobby that would be “me” time?
- Even if you are not a parent, “me” time is absolutely essential! Not having kids does not mean people are finding the time they need… again, consider your priorities and make some changes!
- Consider these coping activities for ways to find me time as well!
- Also consider detaching from electronics during this me time for even more benefit!
In order to truly feel well, we must stop making excuses and find the time! Find the time for yourself!