This post is directed primarily at women not because men don’t have the same needs but because in my experience, women deny themselves more frequently in the department of “me time” than men do.
We all know that by nature, women have a tendency to be caregivers (generally speaking) and yet they are the worst at caring for themselves. Some of this in part, is due to a social definition that “thinking about me” is a selfish endeavor.
TRUTH: If your battery is not charged you cannot power any devices! – You must remember to plug in.
I often hear the statement “I feel guilty when I am not available for my family and/or friends, they need me”. Listen carefully: YOU NEED YOU TOO!
NOTE TO SELF: I, too, am important
What do you do to recharge your battery? Do you sit in the tub with a good book? Curl up on the sofa and watch a silly TV show? Grab a cup of coffee and read a magazine? Walk the beach or a trail in solitude? Go to dinner with an old friend? Escape to the gym?
Frequently when I ask this question in therapy, I hear “When I get the time” or “I don’t ever have time”. Now for the hard honesty… That is an excuse! The fact (usually) is that you make time for anything that is important to you. See above – YOU ARE IMPORTANT TOO!
I’m quite sure this is not the first time you’ve heard (or read) this sentiment, so let this serve simply as a reminder that YOU need “me time” – whatever that is which allows you an opportunity to feel refreshed and recharged in your day.
Yes.. I said ‘day’ – “me time” isn’t an annual vacation (although that ‘could’ be an additional source). It is something that you do DAILY for yourself. Get up a half an hour early to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee. Sit in bed with a nonsense novel for 20 minutes at night. Fifteen minutes in your car with soothing music on the radio, iPod, or from a CD (I especially enjoy Yanni for this purpose). When my day is finished at work I will typically stay an extra 15 or 20 minutes to just sit quietly and breathe deeply because I know that when I get home my family is happy to see me and is excited to share their day with me. I cannot give them my full attention unless I am refocused (recharged) from my day.
You will be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend when you make time to get a full (or partial) charge. You will have the energy to give of yourself without running out of power.
It is when we are empty that life’s challenges feel bigger than they are…