Arianna Huffington takes a few minutes each morning to count their blessings. Oprah Winfrey does the same: she starts each day with her gratitude journal, noting five things for which she’s thankful.
Whether it’s 20 minutes or a couple of hours, we all need time to dedicate to ourselves, away from our urgent work and family obligations. Unfortunately, for many of us it very difficult to schedule our me-time.
There’s a tremendous amount of stress and pressure put on women: being parents, being daughters, mothers, wives, professionals – says Randy Kamen, psychologist and life coach specializing in women’s issues-. All of these roles combined leave many of us not taking adequate care of ourselves — which is what sustains us and gives us the energy to take care of all these other responsibilities that we have.
One way to make sure that I get at least an hour for myself each day is to plan for some “non-negotiable” downtime activities. I know, it might be challenging sometimes, but carving out a little solitude – without feeling selfish- can make a world of difference in terms of creativity and energy.
Spending some time alone will only result in positive changes. The progress might be slow, but taking time out of our hectic schedule to take a break often results in good things for our mind, body, and soul. It will also, eventually, lead to a better time for our loved ones.
As Thomas Moore, author of ‘Care of the Soul’, says: “We seem to have a complex about busyness in our culture. Most of us do have time in our days that we could devote to simple relaxation, but we convince ourselves that we don’t.” It seems there is always something that needs doing, always someone who needs our attention. “Unfortunately,” Moore explains, “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.“
My advice to you is not to wait until you feel like you need me-time. We, women, have been conditioned to disconnect from our needs, so by the time we’re feeling that way, we may already be running on empty. If you aren’t totally comfortable with me-time at first, fake it until you actually start to enjoy this and crave it.
Most of all, I believe at midlife our time is very precious. Laura Carstensen, a professor of psychology and founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, suggests keeping in mind that our horizon is short. When we realize that, it becomes clearer what’s really important, and that guides what choices to make about what to do what your time.
Remember, no matter how confident you are, no matter how supportive your husband and kids are, you always need some time to yourself. You need to evaluate yourself, catalogue the thoughts that have been running through your mind, sort through the issues that have been weighing on you, and to get a better perspective and a fresh outlook for the future!
Sometimes, a simple stroll in the park can make wonders.