We live in a fast-paced, hyper-connected world filled with a stream of never-ending information, so much so that we very rarely spend time with ourselves without any other distractions. However, Me Time is vital if we want to reflect, ground and realign our values in order to live a life that feels authentic and fulfilling.
Many of us are brought up with the idea that we should make other people happy and put them first, and while it’s important to be caring towards other people, that doesn’t mean that you should forget about yourself or put yourself last.
“Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind.” – Dodinsky
Self-care is going through a bit of a resurgence at the moment (at last!) but that doesn’t stop some people worrying that they are being selfish when they take time out. It would be great if, instead of berating ourselves for slowing down, we could recognise the importance of ‘Me Time’ and use this stillness to reflect and rejuvenate rather than drowning in our constant busyness.
Here we run through why ‘Me Time’ is essential for our well-being and why you should add it, guilt-free, to your daily routine.
Time For Presence And Gratitude
Dedicating time to stillness allows us to be truly present and at the moment; fully appreciating where we are, what we have and everything that we have achieved. Without gratitude, we can never truly appreciate joy, which may mean that some of life’s great moments can pass us by while we’re too busy worrying about the past or fretting about the future.
A study conducted by Joel Wong, Joshua Brown et al. found that “those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health four weeks and 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended” compared to participants who wrote about negative experiences or only received counselling.
Even if you take just five minutes a day to pause, look at your life and write down three things you are grateful for, you will be amazed at the power this has on your own positivity and general mental wellbeing.
Time To Focus
While we sometimes feel as though we need to be constantly switched on in order to focus, research actually suggests that downtime is almost more important when it comes to getting things done.
Thomas Moore, the author of Care of the Soul, says, “Unfortunately, we don’t get a lot of support in this culture for doing nothing. If we aren’t accomplishing something, we feel that we’re wasting time.”
Rather than staring at a screen willing for the words to come, or procrastinating instead of taking action, why not take some ‘Me Time’ away from all your projects and daily distractions? This may well give you the downtime you need to refocus on your goals and remember why you were undertaking the project in the first place. Research also suggests that “meditation can indeed improve mental health, hone one’s ability to concentrate and strengthen memory” so, taking 5 or 10 minutes out of your day to meditate may be the missing link you’ve been looking for that will help with completing the task at hand.
Time To Reflect And Realign
Another benefit of ‘Me Time’ is that allows you time to reflect, not only in terms of gratitude but also in regards to your goals and values.
Tim Kreider wrote in The New York Times: “The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration”.
It is therefore important to take time out of your busy day to pause, reflect and, if necessary, realign. We can do this by meditating, journaling or simply taking a walk to think about where we are in life and what changes we can make right now in order to live more in alignment with our true selves.
Time For Nature
Getting out in nature and taking a walk is a great way to quiet your mind from the stresses of daily life. Not only is the fresh air and exercise good for you, but a study published in the journal PLOS One showed “that there was a scientifically significant increase in people’s health, happiness, connection to nature and active nature behaviours, such as feeding the birds and planting flowers for bees – not just throughout the challenge, but sustained for months after the challenge had been completed.”
With this in mind, you should try to get out in nature every day, knowing that it is good for the mind, body and soul.
Hopefully, by now, you have more of an idea about why you should take time for yourself, but you might now be wondering how you can add this ‘Me Time’ into your life. Well, we’ve collated a few of our favourite ‘Me Time’ activities that will help you bring more stillness, gratitude, focus and alignment into your daily life.
- Take A Walk
- Go On Retreat
- Gratitude Practise
- Take A Bath
- Positive Daily Mantras
- Switch Off
Try to choose a handful of these practices that will bring you joy and start weaving them into your daily routines. Why not make one of them a New Year’s resolution? Allow yourself the time and space to add something to your life rather than focussing on the negatives and trying to quit something. Let us know in the comments below what your ‘Me Time’ looks like and what practices you want to do more of in 2020!