There’s a tremendous amount of stress and pressure being put on us in today’s society as parents, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, professionals. We lead crazy, busy lives. And the one thing we never seem to have time for is ourselves. So how do we find our own quality time and why is it important?
Recent research has shown that women today are less happy than they have been over the past 40 years. There are many theories about why, but lack of free time can be a major reason.
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 15-30 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.
Making time for yourself is not something you should feel guilty about. It’s nothing more than taking some time to put aside your everyday business 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 this is more often a trait in women, there are plenty of men out there who feel this way too. Many are so caught up in earning a living to take care of their families, that breaking away from responsibilities to indulge in hobbies, reading or hanging out with the guys makes them feel selfish.
Sometimes life can feel like one long to-do list. Once you’ve ticked off work, childcare and running a house there never seems to be enough time left for much else – least of all you!
Think again, step off that treadmill and take time for yourself. We all need to cut ourselves some slack for the sake of our sanity. Here are a few pointers to help you prioritise your own well deserved Selfridges time.
Evaluate your 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 plan in advance and shop once? If this sounds like you, then start thinking about taking the time to organize your responsibilities, and you will gain more free time than you can imagine.
Learn to say “no” – Say ‘no’ to requests to do things that you don’t really want to, or that you don’t value or don’t bring you satisfaction and joy.
Ask for help – Just ask for assistance with tasks that don’t necessarily have to be completed by you alone. You may be surprised at how many colleagues, friends and family are available to help you out.
Designate personal time slots – At the beginning of each week, take a few minutes to allocate specific time slots for all that you need to accomplish – including “me” time. Treat your personal time like you would any other appointment and make it non-negotiable.
Commit to “your” time every day – Do something for a minimum of 30 minutes a day that completely lets go of responsibilities and releases your mind, allowing you to be alone with your thoughts.
Remember to preen yourself – Making sure you are regularly looking after your personal hygiene is important to your own self esteem. Having your hair done, nails manicured, legs smoothly waxed, a monthly facial or massage, will all help to give you a sense of being you, feeling like a wonderful women, feminine and beautiful!
Create a daily ritual – This can be a bath, listening to music, taking a walk, hobby, running, yoga, singing or meditating. Make it something you can look forward to. Years ago, when my children were small and life felt too hectic and overwhelming, I created my own “me” time ritual. I decided to get up one hour before the rest of the family to enjoy my reading book in complete solitude. Today I still rise early and take the time to practice Yoga/meditation. I look forward to my time of peace, stillness and joy. There is a huge amount of pleasure gained from loving your own quality time. You can lose yourself in what you are doing and celebrate yourself.
It’s amazing how this simple practice can lift your spirits and make you feel alive and true to yourself. Go ahead… Try it!
Annie Moore, CThA, RCCA, ITHMA, Clinical massage therapist, Yoga teacher and owner of Vidatherapy Spa, Teddington, Middlesex.