When I hear young, crazy in love couples say the most romantic things like; “I want to spend my whole life with you”, “I want to share every moment of my life with you”, etc. I cannot resist smiling about the irony of these words, when picturing the same couple a few years into marriage, juggling their work responsibilities, household chores, needs of demanding toddlers and their extracurricular activities, friends, partners and list goes on. No need for further explanation at this stage. I ensure you that it is not a delightful smile, but rather one of sincere compassion and understanding.
When the aforementioned situation presents itself, you are definitely going to need some alone time in order to regroup, keep your individuality and your sanity for that matter. The many demands and responsibilities of our external world have a tendency to overwhelm us. This engulfment happens so subtly over a period of time that we often fail to realize it before it is too late. I wholeheartedly agree that certain responsibilities are both inevitable and important for optimal living. However, when the balance between responsibilities and the psychological, social and spiritual well-being of yourself and your loved one’s shifts from harmonious to dreadful and disastrous, it is time for some serious adjustments.
Signs that your life needs a balance calibration:
- Your body is incapable of fighting common illness, due to a weakened immune system,which might be a cause of prolonged periods of stress, anxiety and/or lack of sleep.
- You tend to have less patience, especially with your loved ones, and become easily irritated and frustrated with things that never seemed to bother you before. As a result, you are easily angered and short-tempered, leading to an increase in misunderstanding and conflicts between you and your spouse and children.
- Your energy levels are low, you fight against fatigue, and feelings of worthlessness, as your life continuously lack meaning, purpose, joy, and happiness.
When you recognize any of these signs you need to stop doing what you are doing and how you are doing it and start to recover the harmonious balance in your life, by starting with me-time. During a session, it is usually at this point, where clients look at me with utter confusion. You are the expert of your life, and only you can effectively change your life and relationship to achieve purpose, happiness, and meaning.
Change starts with you
To become a change catalyst and improve your and your loved ones’ wellbeing, you need to become aware of the hidden time possibilities, which is impossible to recognize in the midst of a busy mindset. Therefore, you need me-time. The Oxford dictionary defines me-time as:
“Time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy.”
Me-time must be a priority for yourself and your partner, due to its physical and psychological benefits. You and your partner should reach consensus on implementing mutually beneficial me-time. Be mindful and supportive in this process and recognize the fact that me-time is essential and not a mere luxury. You both need to be able to enjoy me-time, free of feelings of guilt or anxiety. When you spend time on things that are pleasurable to you, you replenish your energy stores and your zest for life. The things you prefer to do during me-time should be constructive in nature and provide purpose, satisfaction, and meaning in your life. Time is precious. Spend it wisely.
Constructive me-time options include:
- Healthy hobbies, which refer to any activity that stimulates areas of your phenomenal brain and is different from the tasks you normally do.
- Taking on projects that spark your creativity and provides you with fun ways to think outside the box. My husband, for example, loves designing and building cupboards, resulting in a grateful and happy wife with a gorgeous, functional and personally customized kitchen.
- Treat yourself to some Ecotherapy, by spending time in nature. This includes any type of outdoor activities like gardening, running, fishing, camping, walks in the park, etc.
- Yes, it is also okay to sometimes use me-time for screen-time, like playing your favorite game, catching up on social media, watching movies or series or even make one of those hour-long phone calls. Apply a decent amount of moderation in this area, as just a little too much can negatively impact your well-being and defeat the initial purpose.
- It is also necessary to meditate, reflect on feelings or events and just do nothing, to literally sit and stare at nothing, mindfully noticing the thoughts popping up in your head, while you acknowledge them, yet choose not to entertain any of them.
In conclusion, I would like to leave you with a final thought. Nearly all of the abovementioned me-time examples can leave you with amazingly fulfilling and meaningful we-time, especially while your children are small. Rediscovering the world through their eyes makes you appreciate the beauty and power hidden in the things we consider small and ordinary. Our bonfire, stargazing and firefly-hunting nights will always remain my favorite form of me-time.