Sustainability made simple

Taking Time for Yourself: How to Make the Most of Your Me Time

Relax Me Time
CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash – S. Migaj

Me Time is time put aside just for you. We look at why this is so valuable and make some suggestions for the best ways to take time for yourself.

Me Time is just a modern expression for taking time for yourself. For inward focus, for peace and quiet, for doing something for your own well-being.

A balanced approach to life – and work-life balance in particular – is becoming increasingly important for Generation Y, perhaps better known as ‘millennials. More and more, younger people are recognizing the importance of enjoying life, as opposed to being ready to sacrifice endlessly for their jobs.

Yet very few people use their Me Time in a healthy, positive way. Most Americans have over 5 hours of free time a day, according to a study based on data from US Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, well over half of that is often spent watching TV or scrolling through the internet.

Now, we realize the irony here – you’re reading this very article on a screen of some kind. But let us suggest some ways to help you switch off, maybe start a little digital detox, and take some time for yourself.

Why is Me Time Important?

Spending time in nature or reading a good book (or both!) is a healthy way to use your Me Time. (CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – GeriArt)

We should all be taking our daily Me Time, because of its fundamental importance for our health and well-being. There is a scientifically established connection between happiness and the ability to focus on ourselves and the things that contribute to our well-being. These things include physical activity, sleep, eating healthy, creativity, and a sense of engagement with the world. In this article, we’ll look at each of these elements of Me Time in turn. First though, here are some general tips to help you take time for yourself.

Tips for Taking Time for Yourself

We all use our Me Time a little differently. Maybe you like working out or are an enthusiastic nature lover. Perhaps you prefer to be at home reading a good book, or you just want to take a bath. It all depends on what helps you unwind after work or school, and what enriches your life.

  • In your daily routine, make sure you balance your workday with at least one hour of Me Time, if possible. Even schedule it in your calendar. That way, you won’t forget it.
  • Don’t feel bad about taking time for yourself. We all need it.
  • What’s good for you has to please you first and foremost, not others.
  • Put your cell phone away during your Me Time, and don’t use the internet either. This way, you have the chance to really concentrate on yourself.
  • Observe your surroundings and let them take effect on you. Do you feel comfortable in your home? Can you relax? If your space is disorganized and stresses you out, try taking a look at some of our articles on minimalism.

Ready to look at some specific examples of productive Me Time? Let’s go!

Me Time: Sports and Nature

Yoga Outdoors
Doing yoga is a great way to relax and devote time to yourself. (CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash – Eneko Uruñuela)

Plenty of exercise and fresh air is often the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Me Time. Experiencing nature in some way is hugely important for our well-being.

To get you moving, here’s a few suggestions that go beyond just taking a walk:

  • Try yoga. It’s not just stretching – even simple exercises really get your heart rate going. You can release tension, build up strength, and introduce a meditative element into your Me Time. Find out more about how hatha yoga works here.
  • If you begin your day with a workout you enjoy, you’ll feel energized and positive about yourself. There are some surprising benefits to a morning workout!
  • For something a little more relaxing, why not try forest bathing? This is a type of nature therapy from Japan. It’s proven to improve both your mental and physical health. All it requires is that you completely immerse yourself in some peaceful, natural surroundings. You can combine this with breathing exercises or meditation, for example.
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction exercises are one of the most constructive ways to spend your Me Time. You can begin by simply trying to consciously direct your attention to your surroundings while walking or jogging.

Creative and Cultural Me Time

Musical Me Time
Listening to music is a great way to relax and unwind. (CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Steve Buissinne)

Another way of practicing self-care is to enrich your Me Time with some hands-on, old-fashioned culture. Try to keep this separate from your internet usage.

  • For example, find a good book that will immerse you in another world. Leave all your negative thoughts and worries behind for a while and let the story carry you away. According to one study, reading can actually prolong your life.
  • If you want to do some writing of your own, there are lots of benefits to journal writing.
  • Taking time for yourself to listen to your favorite music also has a positive effect on your psyche. Find out what music makes you happy and put all these songs into a special Me Time playlist.
  • Finally, have you ever considered learning or playing an instrument? This option could be particularly helpful because it requires you to focus on learning, which can serve as a welcome distraction from stress or problems. Besides, it’s a great feeling when you can see yourself progressing! Even just ten minutes a day can make your Me Time musical.

Sleep and Nutrition

Eating healthy is always important, but making food preparation part of your Me Time can be enjoyable in its own right. (CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash – Taylor Kisner)

Taking time for yourself to make sure that you get enough sleep and eat a balanced diet is essential for your physical and mental health. These are perhaps the most important reasons for prioritizing Me Time in your life.

You probably realize it yourself: if you haven’t slept much, your brain – and the rest of your body – can do less. Your immune system in particular needs regular and restful sleep. Try scheduling your Me Time in the evening, before going to bed. This way, you can get comfortable and start winding down earlier. Taking a nap is also a good way to catch up on sleep and give your body a rest. If sleeping well is generally a challenge for you, check out these twelve tips to help you sleep better.

If you enjoy cooking or baking, taking time for yourself to be immersed in these activities can be a productive and relaxing use of your Me Time. Try to use sustainable and ecological products wherever possible. This way you’re not just doing something for yourself, but also for the environment. For example, here’s a quick and easy recipe for healthy granola bars. They’re a great snack for after your morning workout – or to take with you the next time you’re doing some relaxing forest bathing!

The World Around Us

Sport Together
Spending time together outdoors– what could be better? (CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Berkan Küçükgül)

The coronavirus pandemic has made combining leisure activities with social contact especially difficult. But sharing Me Time – We Time, if you will – can be hugely rewarding too! The gift of time is something you will always benefit from, whether you’re giving or receiving. The importance of human interaction for our psychological well-being can hardly be overstated.

By taking more time for yourself, you will be better able to find activities around you that feel meaningful, productive, and perhaps even financially worthwhile – the Japanese term for this kind of meaningful life is ikigai. That way, more and more of your time will start to feel like Me Time. Of course, this is an ongoing process. We hope these tips will help you on your way.

This article was adapted and translated from German to English by Will Tayler. You can read the original here: Me Time: Warum Zeit für dich selbst so wichtig ist

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