What is “Me Time”?
Time spent relaxing on one's own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy.
Women take less time for themselves than men, thus putting their health at risk.
Women today have been told we 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.
"There's a tremendous amount of stress and pressure put on women: being parents, being daughters, mothers, wives, professionals. All of these roles combined leave many of us not taking adequate care of ourselves -- which is what sustains us and gives us the energy to take care of all these other responsibilities that we have," says Randy Kamen Gredinger, a Wayland, MA, psychologist and life coach specializing in women's issues.
Whatever your case may be, women you need to take time each day to do something for yourself. We tend to think of leisure as a luxury. When time gets tight, it’s usually the first thing to go. But having enough downtime is actually a necessity for optimal coping and thriving. In fact, lack of adequate time for rest, relaxation and personal interests may be one reason that U.S. women report feeling more stressed than their male counterparts.
Make Yourself a Priority
Emotional well-being is closely tied to physical well-being. If we aren’t taking time to rest, relax, reenergize and restore, bad things will happen eventually. Chronic stress increases the risk for a wide range of psychological and physical health conditions, including anxiety, depression, heart disease, digestive disorders and sleep problems.
Beyond that, when we don’t take time to nurture ourselves and indulge personal interests, it’s easy to lose touch with who we are in the world. We can become consumed by the constant press to do life rather than experience life.
We may believe, usually without even being aware of it, that doing for others should always come first. It’s important to recognize and counter this belief. Tell yourself, “even though I feel guilty, I have no reason to. So I’m going to do something for myself. Life isn’t all about me, but it is about me too.”
Schedule Your 'Me' TimeMake your free time as important as the pediatrician's visit, the conference call, and your meeting with the contractor. Treat it just like any other appointment.
"You have to build in battery recharge time," says Margaret Moore, co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. "We're very good at project management in our work lives, but not so well in our personal lives. Treat it like any project: I want to recharge my batteries so I don't feel so frazzled and worn out."
Try to find at least half an hour to an hour every day for you. It doesn't have to be all at once. And before you decide what you're going to do with the time you're building into your schedule, promise yourself that you won't waste it. Use the time concentrating on what you are doing in the moment, and not planning on what you need to do next.
You don’t need a lot of time, either. Here are ideas for making the most of even 5 minutes of "me" time.
If You Have 5-10 Minutes
"If you don't feel like it works for you, try something else," Moore says. "'Shoulds' are the enemy of relaxation. Don't think about what you should do, but about what makes you thrive."
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