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Ideas to Create Me-Time

In my earlier blog I shared with you my challenge to feel ok about taking Me-Time, I sought out some advice and ideas around this and really took on creating some ‘Me-Time this past week.

My husband and I had a couple of discussions about different ways we could improve how we were currently juggling everything. We spoke about stopping something but it was not really want we wanted to do, so our best option was to find different ideas to manage what we do have on.

Something that I realised was that I often leave my ‘Me-Time’ until the weekend – and this just never ends up working out. Due to the self-directed nature of both my PhD and business work, I often end up squeezing this into pockets of time when my son is asleep in the weekend, cutting down possible Me-Time - I also do not want to ‘leave’ my son in the weekends as this is really our time together. If I do, even just letting my husband look after him for an hour, I end up feeling guilty and torn. Just realising that this does not really work for me was a good starting point.

I had the entire day off work on Friday and I really enjoyed it!!! It was just incredible how I felt without the constant pressure of work/housework and without feeling like I SHOULD be DOING SOMETHING. Giving yourself permission is one of the key messages I picked up from other mum’s this week. Yes it is hard to do, yes I had to actively resist checking emails/phones/even THINKING about my work but it was truly worth it and I’m pleased I tried it. What having some Me-Time meant was that I really enjoyed my time with Arjun on Saturday and was not regretful working when he was asleep. A famous quote from Albert Einstein is that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same result”, to some degree this is what I was doing and wondering why no matter how hard I worked I was still feeling swamped.

It will not always be possible for me to take a whole day off, child-free every week but it’s good to know it really makes a difference and that possibly a bit of regular, smaller doses of Me-Time during the week, will keep things ticking over more effectively and then taking a proper day off when I can.

Something I found really interesting was all your comments on what you really enjoy doing for ‘Me-Time’ – it was all the little things - activities that generally involved little money (or even much more time than about 10-20 minutes. Top examples where have a cup of coffee or tea, taking a shower/bath, reading a good book or magazine and watching a favourite show on television.

It made me wonder is this because it is all the little things that really count? Highly likely. But I also wondered if that’s all we think we deserve in our day? Or all that we can actually allow ourselves time for without having to ‘arrange’ child care. By arrange I do not even mean paid child-care but even asking hubby/friend/family member to watch the children for 10 minutes to have a shower? If we could really have the ‘Me-Time’ that we need or want ….what would that ACTUALLY look like?

I will be honest, I am afraid to delve into that, afraid to voice my desires for fear of looking like a bad mother and an ungrateful wife…. I know it will mean different things to different people. I think finding balance between all the roles we play, the things we want to do and our families will always be a challenge – but there may be some things we can do to ease the pressure a bit. Here are some great tips from all the feedback and advice I got this week:

- Prioritising - you actually cannot t do everything, we are not superwomen although we always try to. Prioritise what is REALLY important and try to outsource what you can – and lose the guilt around this.

- Permission – ultimately this comes down to you and what you say to yourself. There will always be work, always be housework, always something else you could do for your children and nothing will change that it’s what we took on and only we can give ourselves ‘time-off’. There will always be someone asking you to do more.

- Quality is better than quantity and I think this also relates to giving yourself permission. 20 minutes of deep relaxation/ mediation/guilt-free time is better than 4 hours being away yet feeling like you should be somewhere else.

- Make a date with yourself, schedule it in – otherwise it is not just going to happen and this will also give you something to look forward to as well as finding a time that works for your family. This maybe something regular once a week or every couple of days or it maybe just blocking out sometime once a month – so long as its booked it!

- Exercise – this may or may not be your Me-Time. For a lot of mum’s this is something extra, and it can quickly become a burden. I am a firm advocate for keeping as active as possible and if your Me-Time comes this way by choice that is great but if it’s hard yacka for you don’t feel guilty that for you it’s not really ‘Me-Time’.

- Being courageous - The guilt is not going away. I kept waiting for when I feel ready, when I’m not feeling so guilty – it’s just not going to happen any time soon. My husband and I booked a weekend away end of last year and we were just ‘not-ready’ so cancelled it. Truth be told we felt too guilty. Too guilty spending money, too guilty having his mum look after our son for two days, too guilty for taking time off work……we are planning a weekend away next month – the first time since our son was born already I feel the guilt wanting to stop us but we pluck up some courage and do it in the face of our ‘guilt’ knowing the payoff will be a very happy mum and dad.

- Letting go - It’s not about finding the time – that will never happen - again what I was waiting for…when I have done more on my PhD…when I am at this point with my business….I’ll be waiting forever really (well hopefully not forever in the case of my PhD!!). Tonight after Arjun went down to sleep I had a bath for 15minutes. Normally, I would have cleaned the kitchen and whipped the lap top out straight away to work as hard as possible in the remaining 2-3 hours left of the day. So I tried something different – it took 15 minutes, barely a blip on the work radar and it made a world of difference. This is something I will do more regularly now and its takes very little time or money.

A week of learning to ‘create Me-Time’ does not make me an expert - far from it…. I just wanted to share with you what I tired, advice and tips I sourced this week and hopefully inspire you as well to put yourself at the top of the list (or screw up the to-do list) just once and a while :)

Julie Bhosale

The New Mum's Nutritionist xxx

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