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Do you deserve ‘Me Time’?

Should we all be making time for ourselves or are we just being indulgent and lazy?

Are you one of those people who is always busy? Do you feel guilty when you do something just for you?

Many of us feel we have to achieve something every day; we put such a value on being busy that we neglect to find the time to slow down and look after ourselves.

So is there any real health benefit to slowing down and taking time out?

Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services at AXA PPP healthcare tells us that being busy can be a positive thing. “Often the more we do, the more we can do and so maintaining momentum can enable us to achieve a great deal. However, if we don’t give ourselves downtime then problems can occur.”

“Smartphones beeping constantly, those to-do lists that never seem to end, caring for dependents – these can all take their toll. So we do need to allow ourselves time to recharge our batteries.”

“It’s important to find the right balance as our mental and physical wellbeing can be affected. While some pressure can be positive, it can have a negative effect if you have no time or thinking space to develop or feel that you are on top of things. If you suspect that you are constantly firefighting then you should try and make a change.”

“We must first work out why we never allow ourselves to stop,” says Dr Winwood. “Some of us are overly busy trying to take our minds off something that is worrying us or some of us just fear being bored and like to be occupied – all these reasons are perfectly fine but we must take care that we are not using ‘being busy’ as an excuse to avoid something that would benefit us to confront instead.”

So looking at why we are busy is the first step on the path to looking after ourselves – we should work out what we could accept help with or do less of.

‘Me time’ will be different for all of us but it could range from spending a night out with friends, doing an exercise class once a week, reading a book in the bath, switching off social media for a day, meditating, or simply going for a walk.  What you choose to do is down to you but it will help you to re-balance your life.

Read about stress reducing hobbies or how practising mindfulness can help.

Ways to help us slow down

Dr Winwood has suggested a few tips to help give yourself some time:

  • Firstly, understand that it’s good to slow down – not only for you but also for those who may rely on you. Spend some time ‘being’ instead of ‘doing’.
  • Make some time in the day just for you – it is important to plan and set aside some time as it can be too easy to just carry on and forget
  • Sleep more – good quality sleep is so beneficial for your well-being, you will be able to be more focussed and calmer during the day. You could make your ‘me time’ part of your winding down before bed – try having a bath, listening to music or reading a book before you go to sleep.
  • Take some time out to see friends – good company helps you to feel better and supported too.
  • Prioritise your ‘to do’ list – this may help to organise your thoughts and perhaps even realise that there could be some things you may not have to do after all.
  • If things worry you then keep a diary.

Read How to challenge worrying thoughts.

If you still find it difficult to slow down then a therapist or counsellor may help, find out more here.

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