Me time. Self Care. Down time.
We hear this all the time, but what does it actually mean? How do we do it?
Let’s look at the what, the why, and the how. Self-care is intentionally carving out time free of commitments and responsibilities to others. It is spending time fully engaged an activity or practice that will recharge your battery. It is not laundry and chores, catching up on e-mails, or mind numbing hours lost in the curated land of Facebook.
As women, our days are often about giving to others: our families, our careers, our friends and neighbours, and volunteering. “Me time” takes a back seat, sometimes for months or years. Fellas have a great deal to teach us on this topic. Most men are fantastic at focusing on their needs and creating time for what they like to do. Furthermore – this is the amazing part – they do it GUILT FREE. They don’t even stop to think, “Can I afford this time? What will people think if I spend time focused on my needs?”. They just forge on ahead and do it.
The cost of not recharging may be subtle at first, but eventually it begins to manifest in a variety of ways: women can become ill, feel anxious or depressed, become teary or snippy (or both). Women begin to drop the 67 balls they’re juggling and the state of being overwhelmed becomes the new, crummy default way of moving through the world. When we don’t regularly prioritize self-care, we can’t be the best version of ourself.
I remember when my kids were very young, I would head off for one hour every Sunday morning, just one hour, and sit by the beach on my own. Sometimes I would listen to a podcast or read. More often than not, I would simply watch the waves and think complete thoughts, beginning to end. This seemed impossible at home with toddlers and a newborn demanding attention. At the office, my focus is 100% on my clients. That one precious hour on Sunday mornings was all for me. Now I can fit recharging into my days a little more easily. I lose myself in fabulous books like this or this. I may rewatch a favourite film. I make a point of watching the sunset every night that I’m not at The Nook. There’s something magical about the golden quality of the light, the lengthening shadows, and everything turning to silhouettes back lit by gradations of rich colors.
Sunsets and reading may not be your thing. Perhaps it will take some time and consideration to discover your way of recharging. Get in touch with that curious part of yourself and observe when you feel most calm. Here’s some of the ways my clients recharge: yoga, swimming, walking through the forest and parks or along beaches, fishing, horseback riding, meditating, knitting or quilting, crafting, bike riding, dancing, or simply staring into space. Discover your own recharge activity, I’d love to hear about it.
Self-care is not a luxury or an indulgence. It is essential. Start this week, and schedule it in as a regular part of your routine.