How Claiming "Me Time" Improves Your Life Satisfaction and Happiness
Do you have a hard time declaring time for yourself?
That's not unusual, given all the roles most women find themselves trying to fulfill. And the roles, they are aplenty. When is the last time you put those aside and thought about yourself as simply - you?
I'd bet it's been months, years, decades?
But doesn't it seem like the time is overdue? This pandemic threw a proverbial wrench into the workings of all of our lives which seems like a moment in time, an invitation even, for some reflection and perhaps a reset of how we've been living our lives.
This is a time for sifting out what is important to us and who we want to be. And one of the best ways to start, so you don't become overwhelmed with this deep question, is to carve out some "me time."
Me time is not selfish time, nor is it a wasted effort. It is time that I have come to discover is quite important to bringing the best of myself forward into the world and into the lives of the people I care about.
I didn't always know this.
The Parenting Toll
Upon the arrival of my first born and lacking the support or proximity of extended family, parenting was a 24 hour, 7 day a week job. My husband had a demanding job, limited hours at home and an even more limiting idea of his place as parent.
I also lacked women friends as I was new to the area. As you can imagine it was an incredibly challenging time. Not just because of the role shifts, but because the thing I needed most, me time, was a gaping hole.
In her book The Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin talks about the importance of women friends and time spent with them. This "woman friend time" is equally important to both women and the men with whom they are in a relationship. Apparently, we are less lonely and happier when we spend time with other women.
While I certainly loved my children, the 24/7 parenting took it's toll. The adage, all work and no play makes a dull girl or boy, is true.
Missing outside stimulation (this was pre-internet) and living in the country side, some days I felt the spark of my lighthearted and fun side was slowly being extinguished. Me time and a better boundary of roles would have resolved that situation.
Neglect "me time" and risk losing your "want to"
When we take on all our roles – parent, wife, community member, employee etc. , and forget about the one constant within them, the me, we neglect the very part of ourselves that has to show up and expend energy.
Engaging in time simply for your pleasure means putting aside all the should do and ought to and must do and inserts, from time to time – want to.
"Want to" is an under utilized phrase because it feels, well, selfish. Doesn't it? I want to take a bath, lock the door, light candles and read a book. I want to call a friend, go to a craft show/concert/gallery/coffee shop or whatever and be...me.
When we do that, we keep the relationship with ourselves going. You keep alive the sparkle and flame that fans the traits that are uniquely you. Which in turn creates contentment, satisfaction and yes, even happiness.
If we don't, when we don't, we can arrive at the other side of a relationship – marital, parental or personal and not have any idea of how to answer the want to option.
How do I know this? Personal experience of course.
From my family's individual food preferences, to the music they liked, the movies they enjoy to the clothes they're most likely to buy. I knew it all, but as for me, I'd fallen into cooking, eating, listening to and watching the things that they all liked.
It didn't occur to me to stretch my wings and look for a workaround. Instead I went with the easiest path, the one of least resistance. It seemed easy, but at what cost?
When the kids eventually went out on their own, as they do, I was left feeling uncertain and out of place. There, in my own home I didn't really know who I was beyond being a mother and wife, employee and volunteer.
But what do those roles even mean, and more importantly, the question loomed, who was I outside of those roles?
Getting to those answers involved these steps:
1. Developing curiosity about what interested me, or even might interest me.
2. Letting go of the need/desire to explore those interests with someone else.
3. Examining my values and what that meant for the types of things I might try or the direction I'd take my life.
4. Releasing the beliefs of who I was supposed to be, so I could make room for who I wanted to be.
5. A willingness to accept the circumstances as they existed in my life as they were, not how I wished them to be.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Are you finding yourself uncertain of the direction your life is taking, or perhaps that it seems to be stalled and you're an observer rather than a creator?
In addition to creating some me time, let me offer you some other options to help you on your path.
I've created a free e-book that will help you get started - 5 Steps Toward Creating the Life You Want".
I wrote a whole book on the subject - Journey to Joy - How to Overcome Life's Setbacks to Create a Life you Love
If you're ready to explore this more deeply, and would like to work with a mentor, book a free clarity call with me, and see if you're a good fit for any of my offerings.
By going with "easy" and neglecting me time you risk losing the want to, which is an important part of developing a well rounded life. It's not about being dissatisfied, but rather about choosing to be curious, which is the life blood of an enjoyable and meaningful life.
If you're already successfully creating some me time, please share what you're doing now because your fellow readers may need some of your ideas about how you keep the "me” alive.
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