Heather here, back with another exciting topic (and it has nothing to do with Valentine's Day!) We are discussing THE IMPORTANCE OF YOU TIME!
Oh yeah. You heard me: YOU time! What’s that, you ask? Well, it’s a state of being in which you enjoy being your own person, or in which you engage in activities you find enjoyable. Say what now? You don’t have time for you time? You can’t afford to miss you time. Sure, ideally we could run out and meditate in a meadow for a couple hours a day, but most of us don’t have that kind of freedom (or know where to find a handy meadow).
|Oh, silly me. THERE'S my meadow. Right where I left it.|
I won’t deceive you. I have a track record of next to no me time. It’s really hard to get me time as a stay-at-home mother, especially since I also home school my son. I’ve even struggled with it after both the kids are in bed. At that point, I’m ready to collapse and sleep. Any me time would be a chore. Not only that, but hubby wants to spend some quality time with me as well. I often find myself resentful that he seems to need all of me all the time as well. WHEN CAN I BE MY OWN PERSON??! It can be very frustrating.
I recently celebrated my seventh wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband. We managed to convince my mother to brave a night with the kiddos so that we could get away. We were only gone twelve hours, true, but those twelve hours revived me in a way that twelve months of hour-long dates couldn’t. When I came home, I felt like a different person. I had patience, for one thing. PATIENCE! I didn’t know I had patience! I missed my kiddos, which is a somewhat novel experience for me. I’m never away from them, so how can I miss them? I was looking forward to things that I normally find myself bored about or sometimes even dreading. I felt relaxed and calm and happy. I’d forgotten how enjoyable setting my own agenda and not slaving over a planner could be.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve complained (or heard someone else complain) about things that could be alleviated by some personal time: headaches, anxiety, irritability, memory issues to name a few. “Here I am in the kitchen. Again. What did I want in here this time? Why is the milk in the pantry? WHERE ARE MY PANTS??!”
So many of us work our you-know-whats off, presumably to make our lives better. Where is the time to enjoy it? You have to make time. You HAVE to. You can’t afford not to. You should take time for yourself just as seriously as you take your health (and if you don’t take your health seriously, START! Life’s too short to spend half of it sick or to limit your years even further).
One of the best ways you can recharge is to just allow yourself time to think. When was the last time you sat and did nothing but free-think? I don’t mean figuring out what you want for dinner this week or doing math. I mean letting your mind wander wherever it wishes. When was the last time you realized you’ve been staring at the same thing for the last few minutes but were too deep in thought to realize it? It is so important to give our brains that break. I’m convinced that when someone is overstressed, they don’t need pills or less stressful life occurrences (okay. Maybe sometimes). What they need is to recharge. Put away the phone! Get off the internet! That’s why you always think of the best ideas when you’re in the shower. There isn’t a lot going on, so your mind is free to wander. (Okay, maybe some people are really intense about shampooing or something, but I imagine that would not be the majority.) (Turns out there's a brand called Intense Shampoo. I stand corrected).
Start looking for ways to work “you time” into the every day. Maybe now isn’t a good time for a ten-mile bike ride or a trip to Cancun, but what can you do in the here and now to better enjoy life? Maybe it’s as simple as trying a new recipe or making a favorite dish. Perhaps you can put on a favorite album and jiggle a little while you wash dishes or take a shower (but not you Intense Shampoo people. You've had enough fun). Maybe laundry folding can be a race with the family to see who can fold the most or make the tallest pile.
Naturally, exercise is a huge stress-buster and mood-improver. Yoga, in particular, can be amazing for this. I’ve practiced yoga for five years, and I do love it. Got five minutes? Stretch. You’ll feel better, improve circulation, and maybe think of a really creative way of organizing the linen closet. DREAM BIG!
|NOT me. I would be choking on my body fat in this position.|
Friends can be a huge help. It’s very important to have time by yourself, but there’s nothing quite like laughing with your girls to make you feel better about your situation. One caution though: avoid toxic “friends”. You know the type. That friend you have that only pretends to care about what’s going on in your life and pounces on the chance to change the topic to her personal favorite: herself. Exceptionally negative or degrading “friends” aren’t going to make you feel happier either. Don’t disregard family members! I call my brother sometimes when I need a laugh. He is an idiot, I love him, and I love talking about silly things we did when we were kids.
|My brother and I. We're hardcore.|
Oh, and LAUGH! That’s my number one tip. Read a funny book, watch a movie or show, look up fails on youtube! Whatever you do, find a way to laugh and dissolve that awful, grown-up feeling in your chest. Subside into giggles like you did as a child and realize that a year from now, whatever is stressing you out right now will likely not matter as it isn’t a big deal, or it will be resolved. And laugh at yourself. You are hilarious.
Like myself, I’m sure balancing you time and everything else you do is a work in progress. How do you manage it all? Where do you sneak it in? Let us know below! Check back with Leslie on Saturday for more ideas and tips on finding time for yourself, and be sure to check out our new topic on Tuesday with Tori. Have a fantastic weekend, and maybe have some you time on V-day!