We do so many different things in order to take care of ourselves. With all the information available to us in the modern world, we know the importance of healthy living and make it a point to do things such as eat well, exercise regularly and take other steps for our physical well-being. We also try to take care of our social and mental health by spending time with family, hanging out with friends, joining clubs and making new friends and the like. Self-care involves many different aspects, and it is important to take a holistic view of your overall well-being.
However, there is one aspect of self-care that many of us often overlook. That is simply taking some “me time” each day and giving ourselves a moment to simply do something we enjoy. Because many of us are so focused on productivity and constant motion, it is easy to forget about the importance of taking a moment for ourselves. Usually this involves spending time alone, but me time is mostly about doing something you enjoy simply for the sake of doing something you enjoy. It is about spending time with yourself and allowing yourself to recharge, unwind and exhale.
Because taking me time is so easy to forget, we developed this article to lay out the importance of it in a scientific, analytical way (with numbers and everything!). Me time not only gives you those few moments to exhale, it has other benefits that you may not realize such as:
- Rebooting our brains
- Improves our concentration
- Gives an opportunity for self-discovery
- Allows time for deep thinking
- Aids in problem solving
- Helps to improve our relationships
- Makes us more productive
The Hamster Wheel of Productivity
We live in a culture that is obsessed with the concept of productivity. If we are not in constant motion, constantly performing tasks that have a tangible, obvious benefit, we feel as if we are wasting time. To many people, wasting time is one of the worst possible things that could happen. We are constantly bombarded with reminders that time is limited; we need to take advantage of every moment; seize the day; and blah, blah, blah. We get so caught up in this idea of constant productivity, that we often lose track of why we are actually doing it.
In this way, the productivity obsession actually does the opposite of its intended effect. We lose track of the goals that originally motivated us to be productivity and are simply doing it because it is what we have been conditioned to do. Advertisers, employers, social media and other outlets teach us that we need to be actively moving forward at all times or we will be left behind. However, taking a bit of me time each day is actually crucial to overall productivity. It allows us to breathe and recharge, giving us time to really think about our goals and what we hope to accomplish. It gives us time for deep thought and self-discovery, allowing opportunities for personal growth that would not exist in our usual state of constant motion. Take a few moments every day to get off the hamster wheel of productivity and allow yourself time to know why you are doing what you do.
Me Time by the Numbers
Spending a bit of me time is obviously beneficial to us as individuals, and this personal relaxation and growth also helps us in our social and family lives. However, most families do not get enough individual me time each week, and this does cause real problems. A recent study by the University of Michigan showed that lack of privacy and me time is a bigger cause for unhappy marriages than a below-average sex life.
There is also quite a gender gap in me time that can create friction between couples. On average, dads spend approximately 28 hours each week on me time, while moms only get 25 hours. Because they are often juggling work, childcare, housework and other tasks, moms also spend an additional 10 hours per week multitasking compared to dads. This means that 31 percent of wives say they do not get enough me privacy and me time. Lack of me time is not specific to women though, as 26 percent of husbands feel the same way.
How to Get More Me Time
Spending a regular amount of me time each day leads to better balance of work and life, as well as creating better overall well-being. According to other recent studies, our favorite ways to spend me time include:
- Watching TV
- Socializing and communicating with others
- Sports and recreation
With a busy life, getting a more me time is often easier said than done. For most of, we need to cheat a little and find more creative ways to sneak a few moments each day. A few little hacks for getting some extra me time are:
- Waking up 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the family
- Closing your office door
- Temporarily unplug by turning off phones and other gadgets
- Taking your lunch break in a park or another area that you find peaceful
- Scheduling me time each day in your calendar
Use one or all of these simple tips to get a little more time to yourself each day. You may also be able to create some of your own little life hacks to spend some time with yourself. Just remember that this is not a waste of time or something for which you should feel guilty or wasteful; it is a crucial aspect to a healthy life, and every other aspect of your life will benefit from it.