04 Nov Free-time or me-time? – ‘7 steps to creating quality me time’
It was in my early forties when I woke up with a question in my mind. “Am I the most unimportant person in my life.? As I wore my sports shoes, getting ready to go for a walk, the question kept bouncing in my mind. In the lush green joggers park, as I saw people walking around, assuming that they were trying to reduce weight or stress or both, I started wondering. Why is it that all my time goes to others – my seniors at work, my friends, my family?. Even my dog was more demanding. My family got the least of my time and I got none!
Is that fair to myself? If no, I will have to cut down someone else’s time (as of now) and allot it to myself. Won’t that be selfish?
An introspection made me realise that I need to spend (oh no! invest) more time in myself. “I am my best resource,” I said to myself, “…and if I don’t nurture myself, uplift my being, train myself to be a better being how will I be able to do anything for others? In fact sometimes I feel I need to pamper myself.
I decided to dedicate some free time for myself.
But it never happened. The pressures from the environment were too strong for me to handle. The TO Do list never got completed. There was no free time. Life went on and on.
It was much later in life, in my second innings at Empower Camps, that Neelu Grover (a colleague and a great friend) while planning a children’s summer camp itinerary came out with this term called ‘Me time.’ I don’t know who originated this term but for me it was Neelu. She explained to me that after a day’s hectic schedule of activities, fun and learning a child needs to absorb the learnings, introspect and plan the next day, the next move.
At the outset it made some sense. Then I connected this to a Self-esteem manual that Jack Canfield had presented to me in May 2005 which highlighted the self development, self-worth and ‘self-talk.’ I went through the manual and discovered the importance of self-discovery. And for that, we have no time! And that realisation led to the experiment of ‘Me-Time.’
Me-time is not free time. It is not spare time. It’s the essential first that you create. Identify the pressures that others create to take your time, your own created pressures to do something that may not be all that important, evaluate your hourly worth and then conclude your priorities. Your time to do useful things is the left-over of your essential time. Time available for essential things =Total time available – (me time + sleep time + compulsory rituals time.)
How do you do that?
Here are some simple ideas.*
#1. Mental build up. Be alone, focus on yourself. Read, watch videos and learn about ‘self.’ Who am I ? What’s my inner, authentic self? What am I hare on this planet for?. Give your life a purpose, a meaning. Learn and train yourself to be your best friend and your own advocate.
#2. Learn the art of Juggling. Juggle for self. We juggle many balls all the time. Let self be one of the precious balls and you have to ensure you keep it in the air and don’t let it fall.
#3. Set your Me-time slot. You must fix and adhere to time slots. Set a time slot reserved for self. Its your me-time. Regarding yourself as the most important can revitalize you more than you can imagine.Investing time on yourself ensures that you are your true energetic authentic self and only then can you add value to anyone else. It is not easy in the beginning, but as you go along, you will find it is not so difficult either. Sleep + me time. Create that own private, confidential space.
#4. Invest into your relationships. Understand your self and those who mean the most to you, the ones you care for. Invest time on self and them.
#5. Focus. Keep all distractions away. Be alone, in a cool peaceful place. Use music, and be in your own private, confidential space where you do what you like and no one interferes or disturbs you. It helped me a lot. That is the time when no one else is around. Immerse in your ‘self.’ Explore your inner, authentic self. Indulge in a self-talk, embracing who you are, accepting yourself the way you are and not the way you desire to be. Living by your values.
Try this https://my.headspace.com
#6. Choose your Activity. In this exclusive space do what you like the most. It could be reading, gardening, golfing, swimming… anything that gives you utmost pleasure and a sense of fulfilment. This helps you think more clearly, reduces guilt, stress and makes you calmer and focused.
#7. Do it regularly. “Do I need to have me-time daily?” you may ask. The answer is “not necessarily, though desired.” Start with something you can afford, maybe on weekends and then a few times a week, ultimately finding some time every day, even if it is a few minutes. Its your life. You decide.
Me-time is an essential ingredient of the recipe of happy life. Find time for yourself and give yourself the importance that you deserve. Life will be much, much better, I can assure you.
*More of it in my forthcoming book “Million$Second” (grab your free sample ebook at www.BrigSushilBhasin.com)