A Woman's Guide to 'Me' Time
How to find the time for yourself and why it matters.
Schedule Your 'Me' Time continued...
"We're a multitasking society. If we're having a conversation with a friend, we're thinking about the other things we have to get done," says Allison Cohen, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles. "Instead, you need to be present in the moment. Whatever you're doing for you, don't be thinking about your grocery list or the PowerPoint presentation. There's a lot of time in our day that we could be enjoying, but we lose it because we're focused on what we have to do next."
You don’t need a lot of time, either. Here are ideas for making the most of even 5 minutes of "me" time.
If You Have 5-10 Minutes
- Sit on the porch with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. Or a cup of coffee and no newspaper. Just watch the clouds go by. No phone or calendar allowed.
- Call a friend to chat. This doesn't mean planning the bake sale or organizing the neighborhood watch -- just talk, without an agenda.
- Move. Get up from your desk, stretch, and walk around the block or up and down a flight of stairs.
- Breathe deeply. While you're sitting in your office, car, or home, focus on breathing slowly and gently for 5 minutes. It's OK if your mind wanders a bit, but don't start planning what you have to do next -- just follow your breath.
- Pet your pet. Focus for 5 minutes on cuddling with cat or dog. You'll both feel better.
- Put on your iPod and hit shuffle. Then just sit and listen.
If You Have 15-30 Minutes
- Read one chapter of a book you've wanted to make time for. Keep a basket in your office or living room with a good book, magazine, crossword puzzle, or other short escapes.
- Find a nearby park and go for a brisk walk.
- Putter. This doesn't mean cleaning the house or organizing your kids' clothes. Instead, it means doing little things at home that you enjoy, like trimming the rosebush and putting together a bouquet for your office or kitchen.
- Soak in the tub. If you're a parent, make sure another adult is on duty so no one's going to yell "Mom!" Plan so you'll have some fabulous bath goodies on hand. Don't forget a glass of ice water or wine.
If You Have 30-60 Minutes
- Get a massage, a facial, or a mani-pedi.
- Take a nap.
- Schedule a class that you've always wanted to take just for fun. For instance, Amy Tiemann took an improv comedy class to get a night to herself after her daughter was born.
- Plan a long walk with a friend. Commit to it early in the week and honor the commitment. You're not training for anything, you're not trying to race-walk, you're just taking a long stroll with a good friend and enjoying the day.
Add your own favorites to these lists. Whatever you choose to do with your "me" time, make it relaxing and restorative.
"If you don't feel like it works for you, try something else," Moore says. "'Shoulds' are the enemy of relaxation. Don't think about what you should do, but about what makes you thrive."