“Me Time” For Reducing Stress and Improving Wellbeing

Created by Elly McGuinness

Last Updated: August 23, 2020

CATEGORIES: Holistic Health

The importance of ‘Me’ time

One of the simplest ways to reduce stress levels and improve your mental wellbeing is to have a little bit of ‘me time’ every day .  Many people spend their lives doing this and that for everyone else, yet neglect to look after the most important person – themselves.

The truth is that if you don’t allow for ‘me time’ and put yourself last, in the long run you’ll have no energy or enthusiasm to help anyone else.  They may even need to end up looking after YOU.

How many stones can you fit in your jar?

I’ve seen this concept illustrated very nicely with a jar full of stones.  Every stone that is placed in the jar represents something, or someone, in your life.

There’s one stone for your partner, one for each kid, and one for each other immediate family member.  There’s one to represent extended family, one for the housework, one for the shopping, and one for socializing with friends. Another stone is for work, one is for cooking dinner and one is for reading books to the kids.  Get the picture?

I haven’t mentioned the biggest stone of all yet.  It is of course YOU.

If you put every other stone in the jar first, I’m afraid that the biggest one ends up being jammed out the top.  This means no ‘me time’.

However, with the same sized jar and the same stones they can all be fitted in perfectly with the lid on.  How?  By putting the big stone in first and fitting the small ones around it.  Take care of you first.  Have your ‘me time’ and then everything else will fit in around that.

You may not fit everything that you want to get done into one day. However, make sure you’ve got your priorities straight and that your own needs are somewhere near the top of the list.

Some ideas for ‘Me’ time

‘Me time’ may just be 30 minutes to get out for a good stress-relieving walk, read a good book or potter in the garden.  Note that it MUST be something you WANT to do, not something that you should do or something that feels like a chore.

After your ‘me time’, if it is indeed something you want to do, you’ll likely feel invigorated, energized, and positive towards whatever else you need to do.  Give yourself some love and attention and that will flow into the rest of your day.

Although there may be steps you can take to reduce the complexity of your life, right now you just need some simple strategies.  You need ways to help you feel nourished and well so that you can cope better with any stress you experience during the day.

Micro-moments of ‘Me’ time

If you are a mom, or ultra-busy for some other reason, you might want to consider ‘micro-moments’ of me time.  Perhaps your day is so jam-packed and you can’t see a way of changing that right now.  You’re staying up late and getting up early, and rushing from place to place during the day.

If 30 minutes of ‘me time’ seems near impossible for you each day, try these ideas for ‘micro-moments’ of ‘me time’.

Remember, these are only ideas.  You need to think of something that resonates with and will be enjoyable for you

  • Take a brisk walk around the block or sit on your porch and enjoy a cup of tea before anyone else in the house wakes up
  • Draw or color in a picture for ten minutes, which can be very therapeutic.  If you’ve got kids around the house, do it when they’re occupied in a game or in front of the TV, instead of rushing to do the dishes at this time.
  • Write a few affirmations for the day in a journal before you even get out of bed.  Or listen to a meditation podcast before you get out of bed – some are as short as five minutes
  • If you have another grown up in the house, use that opportunity to take ten minutes of ‘me time’
  • If you travel on public transport, make a point of leaving text messages and social media till later.  Instead, listen to an inspirational podcast or read a book.
  • Go outside to pick some flowers to arrange in a jar.  Stop, smell, observe.  You could even create a little therapeutic ‘nature tray’ to bring back inside.  Getting outdoors and especially into nature can have profound effects on lowering stress levels.

You might also find this related article about calming techniques for reducing your stress levels to be very useful.

How I get my ‘Me’ time

As I mentioned earlier, everyone will have a different idea of what they enjoy doing.  First figure out what makes you feel great and then decide how you’re going to get ‘moments’ of that thing/those things every day. As a busy working mum of a three year old this is where I get my ‘me time’:

I work two full days per week.  As I only have two days I make them long ones so I can get as much done as possible.  As a self employed person I don’t ‘have’ to wake up and start work at any particular time.  However I choose to wake up at 5:30am on my work days and walk the full hour to work.

I don’t have my phone out but instead, I just breathe and take the sights in.  Knowing I have a full day ahead and lots of computer-based work this is a good option for my ‘me time’ and also to feel energized and ready to tackle the day. (By the way, I take a ride home)!

‘Me’ time when my daughter is with me

My partner works three or four days per week.  On those days I’m looking after our three year old.  It has taken a while and a bit of ‘coaching’ but I usually get 20 minutes of ‘me’ time to do yoga each day.  It’s not always perfectly calm, but is pretty good now! 

The way we work it is that she does her ‘Cosmic Kids Yoga‘, and then it’s my turn.  I do my ‘Boho Beautiful‘ yoga while she either reads books or eats snacks.  We prioritize our day around doing these yoga classes, which lift both of our spirits.

I also aim to wake up before she does on these days and fill myself with nourishing food before she wakes.  For this reason I’m ready to tend to her needs when she’s up.  (I’m one of those people who gets ‘hangry’)!

Just the process of preparing and eating this meal in silence can be a golden start to my day. If there’s still time I try to just sit on the balcony and chill and breathe for five minutes.  This involves resisting the temptation to start checking messages on my phone!

How do you get your ‘Me’ time?

Of course every family is different.  Some kids go to bed early, so ‘me time’ might be had in the evening.  The point here is that it’s important and you need to work out some strategies to get it into your day.  Then you need to remember to do it often enough so that it becomes a habit.

By the way, if you are a mom, you might want to check out these ten fitness tips for moms. For more holistic health and fitness articles, click here.

How do you incorporate ‘me time’ into your day? I’d love to hear your ideas below.

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Elly McGuinness

4 Comments

  1. Atim at EffiFit

    Me time is so vital! i get my in when I exercise. I also try to get a massage, mani-pedi, or waxing once a month for me time.

    Reply
    • Elly McGuinness

      Awesome to hear Atim:) I used to love getting regular massages..they’ve slipped my the wayside since I’ve become a mum, but they’re certainly on my future ‘me-time’ list!

      Reply
  2. Crystal

    Love this! I’ve been making it a goal this year to have more me time. It helps me re-energize and I really need it. We can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves.

    Reply
    • Elly McGuinness

      Exactly Crystal:) We’re of much more value to the world around us when our tank is topped up!

      Reply

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