- by C.C.
Me Time: The glorious devotion of minutes (and ideally, many of them) spent entirely on yourself. Or, at the very least, not spent worrying about everyone else. (Yeah, there’s a reason it’s not called Us Time.) Setting aside a few designated hours of Me Time a week can help reduce stress, boost happiness, and increase productivity.
One University of Buffalo study even found that people who spend time alone are more creative than people who don’t. And while all Me Time is valuable, there are a few ways to get the greatest possible benefit. Read on for more!
Take your Me Time without apology
There’s no need to apologize for dedicating time to yourself. In fact, the minute you start apologizing is the minute you start questioning whether you ought to be doing something else with your time (and no, you shouldn’t be). It’s time to own the fact that taking care of yourself isn’t just something you deserve, it’s something you need to be a happy, functioning human being.
Take a little Me Time every day
Me Time isn’t only about lazy Sundays spent lounging in bed. On the contrary, you’ll want to take at least 15 to 20 minutes each day to yourself, says health psychologist Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Ph.D.
That could mean anything from waking up a few minutes early to read for pleasure or penciling in time for a brief journaling session every afternoon.
You might even schedule several short walking breaks throughout the day to focus on how you feel.
Take extended Me Time, too
As crucial as tiny bits of Me Time are, it’s important to have some extended periods of Me Time, too. Maybe you’ve earned a sabbatical at work, or you can finagle a leave of absence for the sole purpose of taking time for yourself. But don’t fret if you can’t swing a few months away. In addition to your 15 minutes a day, a short block of Me Time once a week is enough to stay balanced, says Kendall-Tacket.
Establish daily self-care routines
Routines help us do things without having to think about them. So make sure that part of your Me-Time strategy includes simple ways to incorporate the practice into your schedule. That could mean a quiet cup of coffee or a glass of warm lemon water in the morning, or dancing to your favorite power anthem every afternoon. The point is to build these routines so they happen without you having to think about them.
Try something completely new
To keep your Me-Time experiences fresh and exciting, you’ll want to mix things up. If you’ve always wanted to fly on a trapeze, try that. Curious about a new type of facial treatment? Book an appointment. Neuroscientist David Eagleman, Ph.D., says when you experience something novel, it slows down your brain’s perception of time. That means that by spending your Me Time on something new, you’re effectively doubling it.
When in doubt, book a massage
Getting a massage is pretty much the ultimate way to spend some Me Time in my book. Massage relaxes us in the short term and can alleviate chronic pain in the long term. One study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry even found that patients who were depressed and anxious had reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol after a 30-minute massage. If you can swing it, schedule a massage as one of your standing monthly Me-Time rituals. There’s nothing more soothing or luxurious.