Why ‘me time’ is the opposite of selfish!

May 23, 2018

We live in an increasingly demanding world. It seems everybody has a never-ending ‘to do’ list, and more often than not, whenever you ask somebody else how they are, their answer will be something along the lines of: “I’ve been so busy lately!”

Against this backdrop of rushed activity, being stressed and stretched for time can feel like badges of honour. Time for self care not only seems unfashionable, it can even appear selfish.

It can help to consider that when we travel by plane, we’re told that in the event of an accident, we must secure our own oxygen mask before helping anybody else with theirs. The same is true for taking time out for self care. If we’re not taking proper care of ourselves, we can’t take proper care of anybody else.

No matter how busy we are, our mental health will suffer if we don’t allow ourselves some time to relax and recharge our batteries, particularly when we’re feeling under pressure. However, try to be mindful of empty ‘quick fixes’ that won’t help in the long run. Talking about your thoughts and feelings with a qualified counsellor, for example, will be a lot more beneficial to your wellbeing than opening up that second bottle of wine or buying yet another packet of cigarettes!

Simple self-care solutions are often the best, particularly when time is pressing. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, pausing throughout the day – even for just a few minutes – can help calm your mind and give you precious moments to breathe. Pausing can be particularly helpful if you’ve got a potentially stressful situation looming, such as a difficult phone call or a crowded commute.

However long or short, ‘me time’ can be used in so many positive ways, such as developing mindfulness, heading out for a walk amongst nature, or booking a relaxing yoga or Pilates class every once in a while. It can help to take your diary and carve out some ‘me time’ sessions in advance. Seeing that time written down in black and while will help you and others respect it.

At home, try to unplug (almost literally!) from the demands of technology. Switch off the laptop, the phone and the telly and absorb yourself in a good book, or if that sounds too relaxing, burn off some energy by dancing or going for a run. How about catching up with that friend you always promise yourself you’ll see, but never get round to arranging a catch-up date?

Last but not least, while it sounds a little clichéd, if all else fails then there’s a lot to be said for running a warm bath, lighting some scented candles and locking everybody else out of the bathroom for an hour or so!

Of course, if these suggestions aren’t working for you, or if you’d simply like to spend some time examining the reasons why you’re feeling stressed, talking to a qualified counsellor can help.

Far from being indulgent or selfish, airing your thoughts and feelings with a friendly therapist who is trained to listen, in a completely confidential and non-judgemental space, can help to relax and refocus your mind. This means you’ll be better able to concentrate on the things that are truly important in your life, improving your mental health and your relationships with those closest to you.

All About People offer a friendly, qualified and non-judgemental counselling service that focuses completely on you. To find out more, or to arrange a session, please get in contact.

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