I don’t know what ‘me time’ looks like to you, but for me, it’s something which helps make me the best version of me. I think it’s terribly important, but it’s not always easy, skip that, it’s usually quite difficult to find that time.
I was chatting with some friends about this. One friend has a 6-month-old baby and two older children and was really wanting to spend some time on herself. She was really struggling as what she wanted was to do an hour of yoga, which really wasn’t possible. I felt her pain, as I had 18 months between my daughters, so for a number of years, my life was completely full of them needing me most of the time. They are now 5 and 7, so things are a bit different, but it’s still a constant quest to make sure I provide for my needs too.
Here are some thoughts which might help:
1. Decide it’s important, essential, vital, not just for you (your sanity!) but to enable you to be the mother/ wife/colleague/ auntie/carer you want to be. I have a quote on the wall in my kitchen which says:
“Mothers should cultivate their souls so that, in turn, they can cultivate the souls of their children.”
It might be by Billy Graham. Google was not helpful this time 😉
I love it, because it helps my family to know that when I spend time on me, it’s indirectly time invested in them.
2. Find what brings you life and do that.
In a world where we have literally minutes to pinch out of our days to do something for ourselves, it’s vital that we work out what is the most effective this for us to do. This also depends on your goal of me time. Are you aiming for rest, happiness, satisfaction, creativity, peace, joy, relaxation, inspiration, encouragement? When you’ve got at least a short list, think about the things you love doing which bring you that. Is it time without anyone making any requests/demands of you? Is it silence? Is it time with friends? Is it reading a book?
I have a list of things I need, and a list of activities which I know often bring me those things, and I have planned them into my days, weeks and months. This has taken me at least 18 months, but I now have 3 things I do every day:
- I try to get up before the children to do what I call ‘breathe’. It’s a ‘me moment’ which often involves prayer, sometimes the Bible, sometimes writing or just sitting drinking coffee. Sometimes I manage a whole hour, sometimes it’s 2 minutes. But whenever I do it, it lifts me and fills me up for the day ahead.
- I let myself do something creative. This is usually in the afternoon, often just before I start clearing up and making dinner. I put on the TV for my girls and then, before I answer the call of the chores, I do something creative. Sometimes it’s painting or drawing. Sometimes it’s cooking or creating something in the house. Sometimes it’s gardening. But it’s always something I choose and get satisfaction from doing. I always make these projects short. The ones I didn’t do that with are languishing at the bottom of a To Do pile somewhere!
- I read one chapter of a fiction book before going to bed. I love this! It’s something I only started this month, and I’m reading treasure island. I’m often really tired when I get to bed but I have aimed to read a chapter a night and have managed it 12 out of 14 times this month!
Something which can get in the way of doing something for ourselves, is guilt. I advise you to just do it anyway. You know it’s good for you so just talk to yourself as you might a close friend. Don’t berate yourself for not doing it as often as you planned. Just do what you can and enjoy the benefits of investing in you.
3. Find short activities which fit into pockets of time
As you can see above, I’m aiming for 30 minutes-ish a day. I also book in evenings out with friends, which really revives me (I’m an extravert) about 2-3 times a month. But if you’re desperate, you might be better off with 5 minutes three times a day than waiting until you can book a spa day!
If you have a baby or toddler in your home, remember this is a full on season which will pass. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for pockets of time to invest in you, but they might be smaller than you will get later on. It might just to 2 minutes eating a bar of chocolate in the loo so your children can’t share it!!
4. Find things you enjoy which you can do with or alongside your children.
This sounds like not-me time, but it’s something which can also nourish us. I find that it’s possible to do stuff just for my children, but sometimes it’s good to choose the park on how good the coffee is in the café, rather than the height of the climbing wall! Here’s some others ideas on doing something for you which your children be there for:
- take nature photos when out for a walk
- listen to music you like in kitchen or car
- listen to or watch podcasts of FaceBook lives which nourish you
5. Give your children something to do then do something for you
Prepare an invitation to play for your children and use the time it captures their attention to do something for you. In our house this could be as simple as raiding a bookshelf and putting out on the sofa some books they’ve not read for a while. Or putting out a nice selection of different art materials. When they were young it might be putting chalks outside with a spray bottle, or drawing shapes on the pavement they could make into pictures. You know your children best, so get creative and then spend that time on you – not chores!
So I hope that’s helpful. I’d love to hear what you find feeds your soul 😊
This post was written by my lovely friend Victoria Beech. She is a Mum of 2 and runs GodVenture.co.uk.
If you’ve got something you’d like to write and want a place to share it then do get in touch with me about writing a guest post at firstname.lastname@example.org