So, really… How’s your me time?
Now, let’s be serious here. Tell me the truth. How often do you take breaks for yourself? Breaks that are 100% for you. Not just driving your kid to soccer or driving yourself to work. When do you truly take breaks for yourself? Then, do you actually feel guilty just even thinking about taking me time?
That’s an important question that us moms tend to avoid. We’re so focused on taking care of everyone else, that we get neglected. So with that, have you had your “Oh, crud, where the heck did I go moment?”
My Shocking Blast of Me Time Awareness
I had my ‘oh crud’ moment about a year-and-a-half ago. It was really transformative.
I was in the middle of a solo roadtrip, where I like recording voice memos to myself. As I was recording ideas for a general stress management program I was building, my mind wandered over to how moms are impacted by stress. It hit me on how much moms need to handle on a daily basis, yet don’t truly get the support they need to take care of themselves in order to mitigate the impact of stress.
This cry-session truly helped me realize my mission shouldn’t be around general stress management, but to be around helping working moms create more me time. At the end of the day, we’re not getting enough. Below is a paraphrase of my cry session. If you want to hear the live recording, it’s in the video above.
“…Once you become a mom, you’re no longer a woman, you’re a mom. You put your kids, your husband and everything else in your life first.” “…And you’re the one that’s supporting everybody else, while you’re damaged; losing being a woman. Because that’s one of the roles that’s gone. There’s a lot of beauty in the roles that moms get to do. Yet, we are losing our own sense of beauty.”
Why Spa Days Won’t Help Your Self-Care Quota
After my cry session, my sweet hubby may have suggested I take some time at the spa to ‘get it together.’ Yet, a one-fell-swoop strategy won’t help regulate my need for nurturing self-care.
I hate to break it to you, a spa visit or a yoga retreat (no matter how wonderful those things are) are not going to be your long-term solutions to truly carving out more me time. You need regular me time breaks during each day so you can be the best version of yourself in all the roles in your life.
And at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing here. You need quick, scheduled breaks each day that let you get off the crazy train that we tend to live on a regular basis. Just for a moment, take time to breathe, take time to reconnect with yourself. Take time to think about what the heck is stressing you out that day and how to clear that off your plate.
Finding Your Me Time Moments
So where do you start? You’ve now realized crud, I need to do something about this. Yet, I know it can be overwhelming.
Are you thinking, “I don’t have enough time or ready to even think about sometimes brushing my teeth at night. How am I going to find more me time in the day? Like you gotta be kidding me.”
Step 1: Own It
You’d be surprised how simple it can be to find more time for you. The first thing you want to do is own it. Truly understand and embrace the fact that you’re not taking care of yourself as a mom. Sometimes that can be really hard because we grow up learning and knowing that we’re there to help take care of people. And as women, that’s our nurturing role and an essential part of who we are. But, you can’t forget to take care of yourself.
Step 2: Carve Out Time
Next, you want to strategically carve out time. I’m not saying two hour chunks every day. Try to eventually get yourself to three 15 minute breaks that are me time oriented. Whether it’s doing some watercolor, reading a book, sitting in the corner and staring at the wall… sometimes all we really need is just a flipping break. Right?
You want to look for moments in the day that you can help carve out strategically for yourself. Look at your calendar and ask, “Where can I steal 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there.” It’s actually not even stealing. It’s just being smart and being able to create that time for yourself.
Step 3: Start Small, Make it Fun
There are a lot of ways you can find more me time moments, but just start… start really small (and keep it fun.)
Where I started was finding an extra 15 minutes in the morning. I spent time exercising, meditating, preparing for the day. I loved this quite time alone. The funny thing is I found a way to make my morning routine stick. Then, we got a puppy. So that kind of blew-up my schedule. Yet, I’ve been able to find moments in the morning, even with our new puppy where I can just think and chill.
I use my 15 minute me time breaks throughout the day to check-in with myself. I like to see where I might need some ‘tune-ups’ in terms of how things are going for me.
Also, I try to make me time as fun as possible. I love arts. I love to watercolor. So I’ve put together just this really quick and easy water color set for myself. That includes paper, paint and a super cool pen with water inside. So, I just have to pull it out, take 15 minutes. Even if I’m just, watercoloring a couple circles, it really makes a difference.
At the end of each day, I like to take time for a face mask or something simple for my skin.
Most importantly, you can start small, start with one little 15 minute chunk of time and you’re golden. And then just add on to that.
Step 4: Be Kind to Yourself
There are going to be days where you just can’t fit me time in. Simply think about why you’re unable to get that extra time. Why you’re not taking care of yourself. Come up with ideas of how you can fix that in the future. Adjust your day, adjust your schedule. Make sure that, just as importantly as you prioritize getting a work project done or getting your kid’s lunch packed in the morning, your also planning time for yourself.
Those four steps are how I’ve been able to proactively add more me time into each day. Some days are great, others can get out-of-hand and fall short in the self-care arena. Yet, just being aware, carving out time, keeping it small and being kind to yourself will make such an impact on how you can improve your self-care.
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