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COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGIST

ARTICLE: THE IMPORTANCE OF ME TIME


In this stressful and crazy life we often find it difficult to take some time out for ourselves. Spare time is spent with your partner, family or doing those all-important chores. Soon we find ourselves feeling stressed out, irritable and tired. So why is me time so important, why do people resist it and what are some ideas on how to spend quiet time? 

The Value of Me Time
Spending time alone is essential to recharge one’s batteries and deal with what has happened during the day. If no personal time is taken then the days seem to pile up and little nuisances that would have been coped with individually mount up and seem overwhelming.  Time out is therefore important both for relaxation and processing. 

The Resistance to Relaxation
Guilt is one of the main reasons people avoid taking time for themselves. Partners believe that all spare time should be spent together and feel selfish wanting some time alone. As much as it is important to spend quality time together, it is also important to do things alone to recharge. If every minute is spent with your partner, you may start losing sight of yourself as an individual and may begin to feel trapped or suffocated. Parents feel guilty when they take time for themselves as they believe it would be better spent on their children. However, lack of relaxation means those parents may be more stressed, feel rushed off their feet, and be less likely to be able to devote themselves to their children due to their tiredness. Not having enough time for relaxation reflects a need for re-prioritising, and a need to realise that once in a while it is ok to put yourself first.

Fitting in your time outs
Many people would respond to the idea of taking me time by saying that they are too busy and do not have any free time. Really? Not even ten minutes a day? By ‘time to oneself’ I am not saying spend the day at a spa (although that would be wonderful if it is feasible), I am saying take a few minutes here and there. Have a relaxing bath once the children have gone to sleep, even a quick shower can help you recharge if you use the time to think of yourself and your day. Have quiet time in your room where you make notes in a journal or simply think about what was good and difficult about your day. Reflect on what you coped well with and congratulate yourself for it. Think of times when you felt stressed and try come up with ways to manage and reduce this stress. These steps are important to maintain your emotional balance and keep feeling that you are in charge of your life. And when it can be done in just a few minutes, no one can claim not to have the time!