As you probably noticed by now I stay busy. I don’t always have time to do all the things I want and I constantly need to weigh in my decisions to make sure I am using my time efficiently. But there is one thing I find extremely important and it is one of those things I am not willing to compromise: “me” time. How so? Well, let me share more with you.
According to psychologists we need to make time for ourselves for multiple reasons which include: it reboots our brain, improves our concentration, self-discovery, enhances our relationship, and helps us unwind. As a parent it might be more challenging to find the time to focus on ourselves as for most of us our family is everything. But clearly the importance of making this time is rather a necessity to remain functional. Let’s think about it from a couple of different views.
In order to take care of others we need to care of ourselves first. One can’t give to others what one is lacking. Take for instance the “In case of an emergency” instructions on a plane. When it comes to the oxygen masks you are instructed to secure your mask first before assisting others. Why? You compromise your ability to help others by not taking care of yourself first. How much help can you provide if you pass out?
In order to give our best we need to be at our best. We need to make the time to get enough sleep, have a healthy diet, exercise. These are just basic human needs but some people (parents especially) think they are being “selfish” if they take any time away from their responsibilities to make time for themselves. Let’s look at this one from what is probably the scariest thing that can happen to anyone: would you allow your cellphone to always run on 20% battery or even less? HECK NO! I see people carrying portable battery chargers and finding a way to plug-in almost anywhere. Why? ’cause people are needy of their phone. Their life depends on it (sad I know but true). So imagine that instead of your phone is your body that your life depends on it… mind-blowing right?! Those things that you need to get your battery back to a 100% are sleep, eating, resting, emotional wll-being, having fun and enjoying life! Make the time for it; is a mere need.
So we need to take care of ourselves. You get it. It is very important that we learn when is time to turn the TV off and get some sleep instead, or that a serving of veggies is not going to kill us so is okay to have some, or that taking the stairs is a good choice to make when possible. You get it! We’ve covered the physical part of taking care of ourselves. But that is just part of the picture. Let’s look now at our emotional well-being.
As I mentioned at the beginning, “me” time is important to clear your head, sort your thoughts, and basically take a deep breath. The amount we need or we can make for ourselves is different for everyone. But the importance of making at least a bit of time for yourself is not up for questioning. So how can you do this? Well, I want to share with you some of my favorite “me” times that don’t actually take a lot of time but help me get my mind straight:
- Get a pedicure. I know some people do this on a weekly basis or at least on a regular basis. My toes don’t get all the love often but only for special occasions. This is a relative inexpensive (depending on where you live or the actual salon) way to treat yourself and have some “me” time. Note I suggest a pedicure because I don’t always want to talk to people or for people to talk to me (shocker, right?) and this is a great way to just sit there and read a book or catch up on your Netflix while getting pampered.
- Enjoy a solo meal. This is one of my favorite things to do to get some “me” time. I am breakfast person but it can be done over lunch or even just a coffee. This one can definitely be budget-friendly depending on the restaurant you pick. I have no problem seating by myself, with a book or phone and headphones for Netflix time, in a restaurant or coffee shop. I don’t get to do this often because I am either at work or with the fams so solo ain’t a choice. I try to grab a solo meal once per month. No need for company sometimes. I mean… I am great company to my own self and that’s that! Look at this pretty brekkie I had for my last solo meal:
- Go for a walk. Get some vitamin D and fresh air to clear your mind. This one is totally free (you’re welcome fellow frugal mommies!) and is good for you in other ways too. Walking also provides great health benefits like increasing cardiovascular fitness, reduces the risk of heart diseases, strengthens your bones among many other benefits. Try to enjoy the environment and clear your mind. If you like are me and you need some type of noise, listen to your favorite music or give an e-book a try. Here is a link to my Spotify’s playlist (Spanish songs) for the commute. Don’t know why but all these songs get me on a great mood and signing (not that I am any good at it).
- Take a class. This one can be free if you let YouTube get in the middle or it might be a few bucks depending on the class and location. Try yoga, and find your zen; many studios offer drop-in classes for a small fee so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a membership you don’t have time for. Try a zumba class and let your hips lead the way! Painting, cooking, horseback riding, glass blowing, the options are endless! This one you can do with a good friend and it could still be a special “me” time. Make sure if you try this with someone, that you pick a person that brings value and positivity to your life. Otherwise, solo is best… ain’t nobody got time for negativity!
- Time with good friends + laughter. We are not islands; we are born into a family and is only normal to have the urge to spend time with others. If you are an extrovert and find energizing spending time with others, then your “me” time will include someone else. I do this every few months. A small group of good friends and I get together for brunch or something fun. It is “me” time because it is time I am taking away from my family. It is energizing because we are good friends so we check on each other, make sure everyone is doing okay, offer advice as needed, and support each other in whatever stage of life each one is at. We have a good time and there’s always tons of laughs to go around. Laughing is good for our emotional being because it decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells. And don’t forget about our friends endorphins which are released when laughing. These are the body’s feel-good chemicals and promote the sense of well-being. Boom, score!
These suggestions don’t take too much time and are budget-friendly. From a quick 10-minutes power walk to a 60-minutes class, is doable if you do this whenever possible. Maybe you get a daily 15-mins walk and a the solo meal once a month. Maybe you take a weekly U-jam class. Maybe you have a coffee date with your good friend once a month. Maybe you drink more water. Maybe you get enough sleep on a regular basis. Make time for yourself. Take good care of your body and your mind and the result will be a happy and healthier you!
Hope you find this info helpful.
Mama Bear Kim