Written by: Nev Amp, Practice Consultant, Rural Alive & Well
Okay, so some of you are probably rolling your eyes at the title, but stay with us for a minute.
Most people struggle on a day-to-day basis to complete tasks that are typically labelled ‘basic or everyday’. Such tasks might be going to work, grocery shopping, paying bills, taking the kids to sport, walking the dog, cooking, cleaning and getting some exercise etc.
In addition to these, we are told we need to ‘take time for yourself, yet when we do, it may be viewed as ‘selfish or lazy’.
The truth is, that you can’t keep pouring out of an empty cup. I’m not saying to drop all your commitments and focus only on ‘smelling the roses’. That would be as harmful as not taking any time out for yourself.
However, I would encourage you to start viewing downtime as something that is essential to your long-term sustainability (both physically and mentally); rather than something to feel guilty about.
If you don’t give yourself time to recharge your batteries you can’t be at your best. Be that in your work role, as a partner, parent, friend, daughter or son.
Taking time out for you, isn’t just about you. People around you get the benefits of having a calmer, more relaxed version of you.
If it feels awkward I suggest you start by scheduling 30 minutes of ‘me time’ a day. For people with fuller schedules, it may mean breaking those 30 minutes into smaller quantities throughout the day. That’s still ok, your body and mind will benefit regardless.
For people who are not used to having ‘me time’, we encourage you to take your time, and be kind to yourself. After all, you are starting to build a new habit.
If you are used to always being on the go, taking time out for yourself can feel uncomfortable, irritating, annoying and impractical.
Taking ‘me’ time can be as simple as sitting out on the deck with a cuppa, watching the sunrise, going fishing, hanging out with friends or family, reading a book, taking a bath… the options are endless.
The only thing to remember is that relaxation is not an activity, relaxation is the end outcome. It’s about doing things for you that help your body and mind feel recharged (even if the activity is highly active).
Don’t wait until you reach the point where you feel like you simply cannot take it anymore.