By Diane Turner
When I told my adult son that I was writing a blog about “Why Me Time is O.K.,” his response really surprised me! He said, “It’s not just O.K., it’s essential.” I must have trained him really well! In my life, in my practice as a coach, mentor and psychotherapist, I have many stories of moms who ask, “Is me time really o.k.?” Many women have a legacy of self-sacrifice passed down from their moms. Our culture often elevates moms who are “saintly” seemingly having no earthly needs themselves and never overtly asking for anything. What an illusion this is!
Fortunately, for me, this was not my experience growing up. My mother set an example of a woman who managed to parent, partner and contribute to the community we lived in as well as take time for herself. She had a weekly hair appointment, where she had no other responsibility other than being beautified. She taught me to find ways to take care of myself, impressing upon me the belief that if I didn’t take care of me, certainly no one else would be stepping up for that job. This has served me well as a mother of two children, both with learning differences, wife of a doctor who had a very demanding professional schedule and a self-employed private practitioner building my own career.
Women are often trying to “do it all.” The one element that often gets pushed to the bottom of our list is time for ourselves. It is both about doing as well as about being. What a concept! Imagine how much more energy, creativity, sexual desire, and well-being we might have if we simply put ourselves higher up on our priority list. This is a both a choice and a necessity.
There are several questions to consider. How do I take time for me and make sure that my children are taken care of, get the household chores done, spend time with my partner, see my parents….you get the drift!
Here are several tips to ensure you take time for you.
1. Balance the needs of others, with an awareness of what happens if you ignore yourself and your needs. I get grouchy, tired, less flexible, less available, resentful and generally, in a bad mood! It’s amazing how some well-placed “me time” benefits everyone. Train yourself to pay attention and notice what happens when you simply respond by acknowledging the importance of something that feels like self-care.
2. Make an agreement with your children, partner, co-workers, etc. to exchange tasks for “me-time.” “Sainthood” is vastly overrated. Take care of yourself and let go of your old story about not being deserving. Everyone deserves to live a balanced life—time for work and time for play, time for doing and time for being.
3. Guilt and worry is as much of an energy drain as trying to do everything.
4. Set an example for your children. Self-care, “me time” is a practice of self-love and when we are committing to loving ourselves on a regular basis, we have more to offer everyone else. Create a practice of taking time for yourself, even if it’s a few minutes during the day. Even a small amount of “me time” will shift your mood and your awareness. Start small and see how easy it can be!
Diane Turner is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Certified Life Coach and Author. In her book, “Heart Wisdom, A Concise Companion for Creating a Life of Possibility” (NightHorses Publishing, March, 2013) Turner guides readers to acknowledge the past, focus on the present, and create what they want in their own lives through self-acceptance, personal responsibility, and focused intentions. Heart Wisdom, is a multi-sensory experience filled with probing questions that encourage reader feedback and reflection. In writing the book, Turner called upon her training in meditation, guided imagery, body awareness, hypnosis and shamanic practices from South and Central America. She received her B.A. from Tulane University and her M.S.W. from the University of Illinois, Jane Addams School of Social Work. Her practice is based both out of Chicago and Tucson and she has frequently lectured on Living in Possibility, including regular guest appearances on Tucson’s Circles of Change radio show. For more information, please visit www.dianesturner.com
By Diane Turner