Photo taken by Stephanie Ortez during her Me Time
My last blog post focused on something that a lot of us constantly think about, worries. This one focuses on something that I believe not enough of us think about, the importance of taking a little time for ourselves. Oh yes I’m using the words, Me Time.
I’m well aware that there are only 24 hours in a day, and during those 24 hours there are heaps of responsibilities placed on you, I get that. But, I’m also well aware of the damaging effects on your physical and mental health when you do not carve some time out for yourself. I understand that having fun and taking some time to relax, doesn’t pay the rent or put food on the table, but neither do stress related illnesses, broken relationships, and triggered anxiety and depression, all of which can be eased a little by choosing to find some time for yourself.
The first thing that you must understand about Me Time is that it is not selfish. You should not feel guilty for taking it. It’s actually one of the healthiest things that you can do for yourself and for those you love and care for. It’s actually true that you can’t take care of anyone else until you first take care of yourself. This was a very hard lesson for me to learn, and I still struggle with it, I probably always will. But, a therapist that I used to see gave me this great analogy that I’ve used as a reminder:
Imagine yourself as a full jug of water and everything and everyone else that demands your attention, commitment, or service, is an empty glass. When you provide what is needed to them you are in fact draining your own water supply to spread between those glasses, effectively filling them up, and that’s great, you’re doing what is required of you. But, how are you refilling your jug?
This is where your Me Time comes in. This is where it’s important that you find those little bits of time (preferably every single day, but you can work up to that) to actively spend some quality time doing something that really fulfills you. I can’t express how important this is for your entire well-being. I’m going to list out a few reasonable things to get you started. I understand that hopping a plane to an exotic destination for some much-needed R&R is probably not doable for a lot of us, but these suggestions are. And, it’s a choice that you can make for yourself.
- Figure out what it is that is fulfilling to you. (Do you want to start that book that has been sitting on your shelf for months? How about a walk around the block to clear your head? Maybe you’d like to catch up with an old friend, or just sit in peace and quiet. It’s your time.
- Realize Me Time is important and stop feeling guilty about taking it
- Look at where you can cut time from certain tasks and apply it elsewhere (if you shop 3 times a week, cut it to 2 times. If you scroll your Twitter feed numerous times a day, once in the morning, once in the evening. Look at where you duplicate things and see if you can’t cut it to free up time)
- If you can delegate tasks to someone else in your home, do it. If you have kids that are old enough, give them some chores to do, it builds character, teaches them responsibility, and you get some free time. That’s a win-win situation.
- If there are people in your life that are toxic and repeatedly draining you, yet you find yourself rushing to fill them, evaluate that particular situation and what payoff it is that you’re receiving there. Those who want what’s best for us, should be willing (if we communicate well) to help fill us up when we need it. Which brings me to:
- Ask for help. Be clear when it comes to your needs. Speaking up will often take away some of the pressures on us, freeing up a bit of time to spend on ourselves.
Regard yourself as someone who is deserving of some quality time to recharge. I understand that circumstances prevent us from allowing ourselves to do this all of the time, but I believe we must make an effort. Life is overwhelming sometimes, and we get burnt out quickly. The demands that are placed on us can really trigger the healthiest people. If you’re living with an illness on top of that, then this is that much more important for you to do. If all you are doing is filling up everyone else’s cups without refilling your jug, you will run dry, and if you run dry, you will lose your balance. Take your time, 10 minutes here 15 minutes there, every single day if you can. You’ll feel better for it.