Have you ever found yourself complaining, silently or out loud, “I just haven’t had any time for myself lately”?
We all need time for ourselves. We chase this intangible and sacred space of time. Sometimes we find it, but a lot of the times, we don’t. Because “life gets in the way”. When we do get it, it is rare, and quickly taken away from us too.
This blog post is the result of a conversation with myself in my head. It went something like this:
Ok so, if I want to have this “time for myself”, I have to make sure some other things are done first. I have to clean this room, I have to study for my midterms, I have to meet my friends for coffee, I have to shower, I have to cook some dinner, I have to go to dance practice…Hmmm…
That’s when I realized, with all those things on my plate it would be quite unrealistic to expect myself to have a whole load of time to sit around and relish in me-ness. It ain’t ever gonna happen. And if it does, I won’t even enjoy it because I will be feeling confused, guilty and probably a little bit bored.
There are three types of “Me-Time” that you need, and they are as follows:
1. Me time where you get things done, like cooking and cleaning.
I hate to say it but you have to start seeing the time you cook and clean and do other household chores as part of your “me time”. Well, you don’t have to, but it would be better if you did. Even if you dislike cooking, cleaning, or doing chores, technically it is still “me” time, because it’s just you and the dishes, baby;) If you start making every single thing you “have to do” into an enemy of your “me-time” then you will find that you have next to no time for yourself.
I’m not saying you will be at your most comfortable and cozy state when you are standing there in your sweats and getting stuff done, but at least you can approach these tasks that you have to do with a comfortable and cozy attitude. To remember that you are doing these things because you want the end result, and this is a step you are taking for yourself!
Instead of seeing these chores as a “job” try to enjoy the process.
2. Me time where you pursue a hobby or an interest.
The second component of me-time is the time that you invest in a hobby or an interest. It surprises me when some people talk about their hobby as though it is something that takes away from their own personal time. If this is true, you need to switch hobbies! Of course it’s not always easy to pursue any interest consistently over a period of time. I don’t see dance practice as a “job” even if some evenings I am tired and not really in the mood to roll around the floor. No matter how I feel, this is a section in my day that I have for myself, to do something I enjoy, that is not related to the stress-fest of school. And that is pretty sweet.
Whatever your hobby or interest is, part of your sacred “me time” should be dedicated to practicing it and pursuing it!
3. Me time where you do nothing.
The final type of “Me time” that you need is the me time where you do nothing (and this doesn’t include the time you spend sleeping). This is probably the “me time” people are looking for the most, but it is also equally important to realize that this is the type of me time that you will probably attain the least.
This is the kind of time that you can spend browsing the internet, meditating, reading, watching your favourite TV shows, listening to music, staring into space. That kind of stuff.
So if you’re looking for more “me time” it’s important to keep it real. In reality, time is a limited resource. “Me time” is an even more limited resource. You got to be real and keep this proportionate. The time you find for yourself will always be less than the time you must find for other things – but that only makes it sweeter. We must also try to find joy in the things that we are doing for ourselves, and see that these things are actually for our benefit – and so can also be accounted for as “me time”.
You make some very good points…’me’ time isn’t always about staring into space…sometimes it’s about being alone to get the things done that you want to/have to attend to…dishes and laundry are great examples of this…it can still be ‘quiet time’ if that is the way you prefer to work, or you can turn up the stereo or plug in your iPod and disappear into your own little world while you’re accomplishing tasks.
Great tips to remember…thanks for making me aware of trying to think of them that way.
I agree! My knitting time is my me-time/hobby time. I make sure I give myself at least an hour each night but it can turn into longer. Good point about the cleaning stuff though, it’s important to not make it such a daunting task and more of an opportunity.
That is great! I like to get into bed as early as possible so I have some time to write in my blog or read. I love reading before I sleep, so I really try to prioritize this in my “Me time”
I tried knitting once. I really enjoyed it but I never continued with it. Maybe I should pick it up again. I remember finding it very relaxing. I would like to be so good at it that I can watch TV while knitting…but I always had to stare at it or else I would make a mistake! teehehe!
Very true.. As a matter of fact, now I am at home because of the semester break; I have taken a very bold step to enjoy my well-earned me-time as I have worked hard in the college.. I have locked away my SIM card so that no-one can call me from work while I am here.. And what a relief it is.. I am pursuing my hobbies throughout the day or spending time with my family… Believe me, its a bliss 😡
I need to take this kind of break more often 🙂
I think that taking breaks is so important! It keeps you fresh and clear. It sounds like you are following your bliss. Good luck!
This is so true…You seem to have gotten into my head!!
Awesome post 🙂 !!
Very well said!
The making “me-time” thing is very hard for my male friends and clients to accomplish. Most of them are professional gents, ranging in age from 40 to 65 years old. As the years roll by and they get older, it seems they have less and less time for themselves. Or so they tell me. And I believe them because I can feel the ever-increasing tension in their muscles when I give them a massage.
They tell me that they envy my life and my freedom. I tell them that liberation is a choice. Most of them just don’t get it. And sadly, I have only been able to influence a remnant of these tired, harried souls to reach for the stars.
Perhaps if they did more standing at the sink doing dishes or sweeping the floors….day-dreaming all the while, they could find the honey island? In the meantime, it’s lucky for them to have me to massage away their misery and at least try to lead them to liberty.
And now that I have found YOU, I’ll be sending them your way! 🙂 Well, to this blog that is.
You are a bright light shining in the dark, my dear.
Shoshi, all I can say is that you sound like a wonderful masseuse. Thank you for finding me. xxxx
I couldn’t agree more. I’m a teacher and I really struggle with the concept of ‘me time.’ I got to a point last year where I really started to hate my life because when I wasn’t planning or marking or paperworking, I was washing up! At best I might try and get to the gym once a week and that was another form of ‘me time’ but I was still trying to better myself.
Now I make sure that I have a couple of hours at least to just sit there and do nothing. My half an hour in a morning where I focus on what I want is the best ‘me time’ ever – such a good start to the day.
I think you also need to start finding joy in everything you do, or at least I did. Instead of doing the washing up and all the time thinking, “God this is such a chore! I hate washing up!” I now use that time to listen to music or an audio tape, think happy thoughts, dance…whatever. I’ve got to do it so I may aswell enjoy it!
You have a fabulous attitude. I think that as a medical student it would be very easy to lose your life to books and study – you have to make a real effort to make sure this doesn’t happen. Well done!
This makes good sense. Way to break it down and clarify me-time with such… clarity 🙂
I agree with all of this, especially the first part. My roommates have always been perplexed when they come home from class/weekends/holidays and I’ve cleaned the apartment from top to bottom or done all the dishes. I blare some music and make it a time to savor. Along with that, I find that trying to squeeze some fun out of the most mundane activities — like brainstorming with others or treating yourself to a cup of coffee and a pastry at your favorite local joint while working — makes them lose some of the stigma that comes with them being a necessity.
I stumbled across your blog, thanks very much. You do a good job of breaking ideas down and explaining thoughts in a clear, straightforward way. That’s really helpful for me, because I feel like I used to be a natural at some of the useful things you talk about, but long story short, now I’m not. Trying to consciously remanifest good habits seems much different than just doing them in the first place because they made sense. Your posts give me some courage to start practicing – it takes faith to change for the better. 🙂
Thank you very much. I do try to breaking concepts down into simple fundamental steps and habits – because it helps me understand them better.
And you know, I feel just like you, good habits really take time and effort to maintain, and sometimes they don’t feel very “natural” for me either. It’s just a question of dedication and commitment. Good luck!
“Me Time” rules!
I agree 100%. I’m a full time student and with all the workload and stress involved, I tend to forget about my own needs. Most of my free time, I spend trying to make up time with people I haven’t seen, when in reality, I need to start worrying about taking better care of myself. Thanks for the inspiration, I will definitely start putting this into practice!
I have just been told by my doctor that I need to make more me time. But as a full time worker, currently studying with two grown up children still at home studying and a husband who works long hours, I never seem to have total relaxation time. I have me time to a certain extent but then feel guilty if the house isn’t clean, pots washed clothes clean etc. As such my health is suffering and whilst my husband son and daughter tell me all their troubles, none of them are interested in listening to mine. When I do say something to my husband he normally goes into a lecture on what I should do etc, sometimes you just want people to listen, but not to say anything.
As my doctor said ‘who do I talk to’? My best friend? but then you don’t want to burden them. I find that I feel guilty for taking me time. I am going to be 50 in August and feel this is an age when I should be starting to have some me relaxation time.
Malavika for someone so young you have some very valid points.
I will email you when I get some time, with some thoughts I have on your situation! And maybe together we can find a new way to do things.
Wishing you happiness,