Are you finding it difficult to fit ‘me time’ into your busy schedule?
You are not alone lady. The truth is – you will never find ‘me time’ no matter how hard you look. You must create ‘me time’. Keep reading and I will show you how you can squeeze more ‘me time’ into every day, even when you’re out-of-your-brain kinda busy!
Why Create ‘Me Time’?
When was the last time you enjoyed quality, intentional ‘me time’? Ah sorry, opening the dishwasher to a face full of steam doesn’t count.
If the last time you had quality ‘me time’ was ‘peeing with the toilet door closed’, join the club!
As women, we play multiple roles in our lives – wife, partner, mother, sister, daughter, friend, colleague, cook, cleaner, chemist, teacher, homework police, coach, taxi-driver and of course – if you have teenagers like me – an ATM!
Our days are filled with countless activities that support the ones we love. In the process of caring for others, we often forget about nurturing ourselves, which has a negative effect on our wellbeing and on those around us.
Be Intentional When Creating ‘Me Time’
It’s taken me a while to realise, but whenever I find myself feeling agitated, overwhelmed, or snapping at my kids (or husband!), chances are it’s been a while since I have done something intentional just for me.
The number one way to make sure you’re able to support and serve others is by nurturing and supporting yourself. You can do this by scheduling simple self-care routines and making them non-negotiable.
Here are 21 my favourite ‘me time’ activities …
// 1. Have a facial
Nothing screams, ‘I’m tapping out’ like cucumbers over your eyes, right?! Having a professional facial or even doing a DIY facial at home, is one of the best ways to relax. Here are some facial mask recipes you can try out at home.
// 2. Listen to music
Whether you’re cranking out the 90’s tunes in your loungeroom after school drop-off (It happens!) or you have your headphones in while you’re working out, music works wonders for improving your overall health. Choosing slow, quiet, classical music or the sounds of nature can slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure and decrease levels of stress hormones.
// 3. Write in your journal
Recording your ideas, feelings, struggles and hopes can help you to order your thoughts, gain perspective and live a life of gratitude. The Life Sorted app was born out of a journal and I often wonder what would be if I didn’t make time to allow my ideas to percolate inside my journal.
// 4. Read a book
I always have at least two books on the go. These days, one may be a digital copy, but I still have heart for physical books. Visit your local library to borrow some new releases, without purchasing and creating additional clutter in your home.
// 5. Do some yoga
Even 5 minutes of the ancient practice of yoga to start your morning can completely change the way you feel for the rest of the day. Try this simple 5-minute routine for beginners.
// 6. Meditate
Meditation is a discipline that involves turning the mind and attention inward and focusing on a single thought, image, object or feeling. The aim is to manage your stress and improve your focus on tasks. Meditation is more accessible than ever with a plethora of apps to support your soul-soothing journey. Try Aura – an app that sends you a new three-minute, personalised meditation each day.
// 7. Go for a walk/run
Sometimes you may think you’re too busy or stressed to exercise but if you make time for exercise, you will notice the difference in how both your body and mind feels. Getting outdoors is one of the best ways to de-stress while getting much needed exercise for better health. Exercise activates endorphins and improves your ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Win win!
// 8. Drink coffee/tea
Grab a beautiful mug or tea cup and fill it with your favourite drink (add a fluffy croissant on the side and you are seriously talking!). Psychologists at the City University London tested the effectiveness of a cup of tea to induce calm during an anxiety episode. In the process, they discovered how the ritual of tea-making also reduced stress.
// 9. Take a dip in the pool
Not only is it relaxing, swimming has many benefits on a physiological level. For example, swimming reduces fight-or-flight stress hormones and can ease depression. It can even promote ‘hippocampal neurogenesis’ – the growth of new brain cells in a part of the brain that degenerates under chronic stress.
// 10. Have a foot bath
A professional foot spa or a DIY foot bath, will have you feeling grounded in no time. Our feet can reveal the true state of our health. The shape, texture and colour of our feet can indicate underlying ailments, such as the early signs of diabetes and poor circulation.
// 11. Soak up some sunshine
Not only is it a great mood booster, moderate sunlight also provides several health benefits such as triggering the release of serotonin (which is responsible for , strengthening bones and healing skin conditions. Getting between 5 to 15 minutes of moderate sunlight on your arms, hands and face two to three times a week is enough to enjoy the vitamin D-boosting benefits of sun.
// 12. Listen to a Podcast (non-business related)
Remember those interests you had outside of your business and family? Explore those again through listening to podcasts that align with your hobbies and interests and motivate and inspire you. Check out these podcasts – The Moth, No Filter with Mia Freedman, Keeping Good Company.
// 13. Play with animals
A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia discovered that just a few minutes of petting your pooch prompts a release in ‘feel good’ hormones, including serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. It also decreases levels of the stress hormone, ‘cortisol’ which can assist with regulating your appetite.
// 14. Watch a Netflix show
The world really is ‘your oyster’ with Netflix. There are so many worlds within your four walls that you can explore without having to leave the house. I always google ‘best Netflix series to see what’s trending. Recent favourite series include The Handmaid’s Tail, The Sinner and Homeland.
// 15. Watch a Netflix show in the bath with a glass of champagne (triple whammy!)
Now we’re talking! It sounds simple, but having an uninterrupted bath is one of the best ways to relax after a long day. A UK study revealed that having a bath resulted in a significant drop in feelings of pessimism about the future and caused increases in ‘hedonic tone’ – the internal feeling of pleasure.
Be sure to position your iPad in a safe and stable position outside of the bathtub. For extra protection, pop your iPad inside of a large zip locked bag (just in case!). I promise you the shrivelled fingertips will be worth it! This bath accessory is on my wish list!
// 16. Book a massage
Our predecessors in Ancient Greece, Egypt, China and India preached about the therapeutic benefits of massage to treat a variety of conditions. As well as the obvious benefits of relaxing your muscles, research indicates that massage can effectively manage soft tissue injuries, anxiety, stress, high blood pressure and even insomnia!
// 17. Take a nap (my all-time favourite!)
Whether you’re snuggling in your doona, or snagging a nanna nap on the couch, a day bed, or a hammock, nothing compares to the restorative restart a sound sleep gives you.
// 18. Drink a glass of champagne while watering the plants
Ok, so this might sound like a bit of weird one – but hey, give it a try before you decide. Watering plants and drinking champagne are two of my favourite things to do on Sunday afternoon. And, if anyone comes to interrupt you – just (accidentally on purpose) spray them with the hose!
// 19. Get your ‘craft’ on
Those of you who know me know that I love making things with my hands. Recently, I’ve taken up macramé as a hobby and it’s surprisingly easy. You can also make a small wall hanging within an hour or so, which does amazing things for your sense of achievement. Here’s an article on why doing things with your hands enhances wellbeing. And here’s a video tutorial for beginners on how to make macramé wall hanging.
// 20. Do a puzzle
There are so many benefits of doing puzzles. When you are engrossed with completing a puzzle, your mind is focused. It’s a great activity for practising mindfulness and really getting present.
// 21. Light a candle
Light a scented candle or turn on your diffuser with your favourite essential oils. For a pick-me-up try a blend of bergamot, peppermint and grapefruit or to induce feelings of calm, try a blend of lavender, rosemary and sage.
Final thoughts on creating ‘Me Time’
Like anything, if you set yourself a goal, you’re more likely to follow through and achieve success. Decide on how much time each week that you’re going to allocate each week for yourself and schedule it into your calendar using your Life Sorted App.
You deserve it.