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In this post I want to talk about the importance of having regular time for yourself (me time), and why you should consider making this a sustainable practice in your daily life. There’s no disputing that the majority of us lead busy lives and that time is of the essence. The problem with busy lifestyles is that we have so many things to do, that we often don’t take the time to do us.

Even when we’ve scheduled me time, it’s seems that we’re okay with to bypassing it. If it means we can borrow some time back for what seems more pressing priorities. Over time, ignoring your own needs can lead to dissatisfaction, unhappiness, resentment and personal dysfunction. So next time you want to pass up on your me time, maybe you could consider dropping something else that’s less important than you.

What women know but don’t always act on.

Women are really good at stepping up to meet the ever-growing multitude of modern day demands. But, we’re not so good at stepping back from these demands. In fact, we’re fall way behind when it comes to making regular time for ourselves. For some reason, we feel comfortable in justifying that there are more important things to attend to then us. Here’s a few reasons why we feel justified:

Women step up to responsibility because we are givers and nurturers by nature. Giving to others often comes naturally for a lot of women link to Givers & Takers posts. When we get into a habit of constantly giving to everyone else, we don’t have the time or energy to give back to ourselves. We regularly deny our needs by pushing them aside or assigning them to a future time that never comes.

Then there’s an unspoken consensus amongst women that goes something like this: “We must strive to be everything to all people.” This could have something to do with us being taught earlier in life that we’re responsible for others’ behaviours, needs, feelings and expectations. The more we strive to fulfil this self-defeating prophecy, the greater the risk that we will eventually burnout.

Women also have a tendency to push the envelope way too hard. We are experts at relentlessly pursuing efficiencies that support us with better managing our limited time. Then when we recoup some of that time back, we jam ourselves by filling it with more responsibilities. This is not healthy or sustainable. Because in doing this, we open ourselves up to ongoing serious stress, anxiety and fatigue, amongst other things. If you recognise this cycle, you should also recognise that it’s a dangerous one to get caught up in. Because there’s a big chance you could crash and burn.

A crash happens, when you push yourself so hard that you end up with physical and/or emotional exhaustion. If you want to prevent this from happening, you will need to step back and take your regular me time.

Recovering from a crash is a severe reminder that you need to take better care of yourself.

The crash – A serious lesson in self-care.

Unfortunately, when a crash occurs, it’s often too late to minimise the damage. I know first hand how this scenario goes. There was a time when I crashed. It happened around ten years ago, when a close family member was diagnosed with a serious medical condition. My immediate reaction was to step up and take on the role of the main support person. I already had a lot on my plate, nevertheless I felt compelled to help them get through this crisis.

At the time, I had no idea of how much support they were going to need. But it grew apparent to me over time, that it was going to be way more than I could personally give. In the end I was diagnosed with physical and emotional exhaustion, a direct condition from pushing myself too hard for too long. So, I spent the next three months in bed, based on the advice of my GP.

While I was recuperating I remember feeling like I had failed and that I had let my relative down big time. But in hindsight, the only person I let down was me. My take home lesson from this experience is to: “Do unto to yourself as you would do unto others.”

Mind you, I have spent quite a few years figuring out how to do this and relearning how better to support myself. These days, I spend regular time taking good care of myself and I love it.

Why proactive works.

That brings me to my next point, it’s much better to be proactive than reactive with your self-care. “Proactive is taking action by causing change and not only reacting to change when it happens. Whereas reactive, is reacting to events or situations as they arise.”

Being proactive is the best way to keep your mojo going and to live a happier, healthier life. By investing in me time, you are giving yourself the space and time to restore, reenergise and recalibrate the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical components of your life. If you make me time a habit, you will continue to operate more effectively and be more adept at coping with the intensity and ongoing demands of today’s fast paced living.

Take some me time you’ll love it.

Okay, so doing me time might seem a bit strange at first. But once you get used to it, you will crave it. Just start with a small amount of time each day, that you allocate just for you. You don’t have to plan anything, just claim your own space and time. And remember, it’s non-negotiable. It can be as little as ten minutes. Obviously, the more time you take, the more beneficial it will be for you.

Please try not to view your me time as added responsibility, look at it more like a luxury or some well deserved pampering. If you’re not sure how you want to use your time, just start with something simple like catching up on some sleep, getting a massage, going for a walk, listening to some music, reading a great book or sitting outside in the sun. Do whatever feels good and resonates with you. Over time, you will find that you can’t live without your me time. In fact you will command it.

At FEEL it’s our job to keep reminding you, that there’s no one more important in your life and no one more deserving of your attention, than you. So, take some time to do the things you love and watch how it changes your life, in the best possible way.

“Open time, with no obligations except toward the inner world and what is going on there. Alone—in moments of prayer or meditation, or simply in stillness—we breathe more deeply, see more fully, hear more keenly. We notice more, and in the process, we return to what is sacred”

May Sarton