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'Me' time

04 June 2015

Sometimes the stresses at work and in life are so much we start to find ourselves thinking about “getting through” the week, or “surviving the weekend”.

We’re so preoccupied with being busy, always “being on the go”, and having lots to do. There may be a perception that we should always be busy, especially in the workplace that we start to feel guilty about taking time for ourselves, or that we’re “wasting” time or being “selfish”.

From a health and well-being standpoint, I think the importance of prioritising some “me” time for yourself cannot be underestimated. It will help you to relax, refocus and recharge and you’ll be back to your usual duties feeling energised, happier and more focused and efficient.

From a weight loss/fitness point of view, it will reduce stress levels and cortisol release, which in turn encourages your rest and repair hormones to fire up and do their thing – helping weight loss, strength gain and digestion.

Enjoy it

“Me” time can be anything you want it to be, as long as you find it enjoyable. It doesn’t need to take long, and it doesn’t need to be expensive. Schedule it in your day and feel the benefits.

Remember “me” time needs to be something you like doing – for example, if you don’t like gardening, it doesn’t count.

Does exercise count? Well, it depends. If exercise is something you feel you have to do, or you feel better when it’s over rather than when you’re actually doing it then although it’s good for you and you’ll get health benefits from exercise, it doesn’t count as actual “me” time. You’ll need to find something you actually like be “me” time.

Some ideas

“Me” time ideas if you have five to 15 minutes:

  • have a cup of tea and skim the paper;
  • meditate – find a guided meditation app if you need something to get you started;
  • sit somewhere quiet and take some deep breaths;
  • cuddle up with your cat or dog; or
  • if you’re in the office, get outside and take a walk around the block.

“Me” time ideas if you have 15 to 45 minutes:

  • soak in the bath with some bath salts;
  • go for a walk;
  • do some gardening;
  • take a nap; or
  • read a book or magazine.

“Me” time ideas if you have more than 45 minutes:

  • get a massage, facial, manicure/pedicure;
  • go to a yoga or stretching class; or
  • walk the dog.

There’s lots of things that can be “me” time. Schedule it into your diary every day for a week and see if it makes a difference to your productivity, energy and efficiency.

Raewyn Ng was formerly a legal advisor at Historic Places Trust, now Heritage NZ, and before that worked for Parliamentary Services. She is now a movement coach with an interest in wellbeing and holistic health, managing stress and living a balanced lifestyle. See www.mybod.co.nz.

Last updated on the 17th March 2016