A few weeks ago, my mother-in law-offered to take the children overnight to allow me to have “me time”. The mom-guilt speaks loudly in my house, but I was able to quiet it down long enough to say, “HELL YES!”
It was one of the greatest days I’ve had in a long time. That morning I mapped out my day and filled it with all the indulgent (reasonably speaking) things that I could think of. I sipped coffee in peace; I rode my horse; I went shopping (for ME); I ate sushi; and, to top it all off, I managed to stay awake to watch a movie with wine in hand. I went to bed feeling rejuvenated and woke up the next morning with a fresh perspective.
These days, “me time” is just an ex from my past life. We may see each other in passing from time to time, but the relationship we once had is no more. With all the stressors of having a spouse and children, maintaining a home, working a day job, and starting-up a side-hustle, a day off was long overdue.
Following my day off, I was reminded of how important “me time” is to our mental health, regardless of having kids and/or a spouse. While it was certainly nice to be free of the kids for a whole night, I began to consider ways in which I could create “me time” on a smaller scale.
Here are some ways that you can map out some “me time” in your daily life:
1. Sleep time IS “me time”
Go to bed early and get a full night (7-9hrs) of sleep. Getting a solid bit of sleep also helps us deal with stress, improves memory, decreases inflammation, and can boost weight loss efforts.
2. Read a book
Reading allows our minds to explore new thoughts and to travel outside of ourselves. It’s an easy, peaceful escape, even if you can only afford 15 minutes at a time.
3. Take up journaling
Journaling is a simple way to unwind and express your thoughts without facing judgement of others. Through self-expression we can release our demons and often solve our own problems.
4. Go for a walk/exercise
Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym—that can be time consuming. Take a short walk at lunch or after dinner. Take 15 minutes at home to channel-up a YouTube workout session. It’s time you’re are taking to release some endorphins, de-stress, and better yourself.
5. Amp up shower/bath time
At the end of the work week, or an especially hard day, create a relaxing vibe at shower/bath time with candles, music, your favorite scents. Make washing an occasion.
6. Coffee break
Allow yourself a moment in the day to just take a break. Find a quiet place to sit, sip your favorite coffee/tea. Saturday mornings I will usually try to abandon all responsibilities long enough to drink a few cups of coffee…in peace. It’s my calm before the day begins.
7. Be the first to get up in the morning
I enjoy this one immensely, although I admit it’s a challenge to purposefully get up early on mornings that I’m not headed to work. The house is quiet, the birds are chirping, the sun is breaking, the smell of freshly brewed coffee…and I have it all to myself! Need I say more? It’s like a mini mini-vacation.
8. Create “me time” smack in the middle of chores!
My all-time favorite: ear buds in listening to Spotify and drinking a glass of chardonnay while cooking dinner. But really, you could do this with any mundane (household) responsibility.
9. Pencil-In Self-Pampering
Abandon your usual after-hours routine for organized and indulgent? “me time”. Get a massage, go shopping, go to a movie, or have a drink at a bar—alone. While this one may require some planning, a small amount of self-indulgence is important for self-love and well-being.
It’s taken me years to figure this out: life is all about perspective. It’s “me time” if you call it “me time.” While planning some time away from your normal routine feels slightly more adventurous, you CAN create an escape from the stress and hustle without even putting it on your calendar! You owe to yourself to give it a try!