One thing I hear more and more as I am in contact with amazing people is the lack of time we are able to hold aside just for ourselves. I hear feelings of guilt when we even consider “me time” because it would take away from what we can do for our kids, significant other, our home, work, projects, etc.
We all get significant value from contributing to something outside of ourselves, and because of this, we want to give more and more. Is it right to prioritize myself above all of this? Is it possible?
The concept of setting aside and enjoying quality time for myself has been a process for me. I used to feel very guilty for taking a nap, for spending time on a hobby I enjoy, or for going out with friends. But once I started prioritizing “me” on a regular basis, I have seen the benefits it brings to me, to my work and to my relationships. I am simply a much more enjoyable person to be around when I get some “me” time.
You may ask, Jen, where do I start? The answer is going to be different for each person, but here are a few ideas to get you going.
Gather a group or join a group to have fun with. I have a group that started to play sand volleyball together a few years back. We have a great time together and it became very natural for us to share activities outside of volleyball. Someone suggested taking a belly dancing class, and because we knew we would all have fun together, we gave it a try. Since them we have gone zip lining, rock climbing, tried out boxing classes and our next adventure is to head to the shooting range. Participating with a group to have fun and pull you out of the house is a very helpful thing.
Read the research on the importance of “me” or “down” time. There are many studies and articles, released lately, that talk about the importance of rest. I am not just talking about sleep, I am talking about down time as well, rest for not only your body but for your mind too. We all want to be healthy! Research is telling us more and more to slow down! Here are a few links to check out. Create Space Article Mental Down Time Article
Muscles strengthen when we use them, right? Start strengthening your guilt free muscle when it comes to time for yourself. Practice makes perfect and we all need to start practicing taking a nap without guilt. When you are resting, force yourself to stop thinking of all the things “you should be doing”. Try to think about how much better you are going to feel, how much better you are going to be able to treat the people around you because of your rest time. One day you will suddenly be able to rest without guilt, but it takes practice.
Learning the importance of saying “no” is a big challenge for many of us, so I think I will set aside an entire blog post for the subject in weeks to come, so stay tuned!
When did you last take time for yourself? Who are some people in your life you could start having fun with?
Let those that are friends, family and co-workers know that you will be a better “you” when scheduling some down time, and DO IT!