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Me time: Taking time for yourself

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

The benefits of having 'me time'

Sometimes life can feel like one long to-do list. Once you've ticked off work, childcare and running a house there never seems to be enough time left for much else - least of all you!

Think again, step off that treadmill and take time for yourself. We all need to cut ourselves some slack for the sake of our sanity.

Prioritise yourself

If you are used to putting others first it's hard to prioritise yourself, especially as a parent, and not feel guilty about it.

"If you are the engine room of the family it's important to nurture yourself," says Lorraine Thomas, Chief Executive of the Parent Coaching Academy.

"It's a not a luxury, it's a must which you shouldn't feel guilty about."

She says: "Mums especially are good at shuffling themselves to the bottom of the pack and naturally looking after family and friends before themselves."

It's good for you

Taking time of yourself has psychological and physical benefits. If you give yourself a break you'll feel refreshed and happier.

Life coach Andrew Leigh says: "It's all about maintaining a good sense of self. If you don't have 'me time' you can get resentful and feel like a dogsbody."

When you focus on an activity just for you, stress levels go down and you have time to recharge the batteries.

"If we keep going we never have a chance to stop and appreciate what we've got, and ask what do I need for me right now?" according to wellbeing coach Naomi Martell-Bundock.

Blogger and grandmother of six Barbara Green says: "Me time to me is doing exactly what I want on my own. The main benefit of me time in my opinion is that it's a reward, and saying 'I'm a good person and I'm worth taking care of'. In other words it's taking time out to boost my mental well being and self esteem."

What is 'me time'?

So what is 'me time'? Well it's NOT tidying the kids' bedrooms or going through emails. It means different things to different people. It could be going for a run, a trip to the cinema, a night at the pub with friends or having a massage, anything you enjoy.

"It's important to take time for yourself even if it's only half an hour a week. It could be catching up with something that's a treat, like having a long bath, reading a book, or taking a walk," says Lorraine.

"When you have me time you can lose yourself in what you are doing and celebrate yourself," says Andrew. His definition of me time is anything that lights you up or fascinates you.

Naomi says it could be doing yoga, reading, trying out a new recipe, whatever it is you feel you want to do.

Depending on how much time you have it might even be just having a coffee in the garden.

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