Life is hard. We wished for a better year after the difficulty of 2020, yet still can’t see an end to the Covid-19 pandemic nearing. People are reaching out to each other, complaining of burnout, while anxiety is at an all-time high. Sure, moments of gratitude lift our spirits, but we need a habitual routine to recharge and recover in order to live to our full potential. In other words, “me” time.
As we creep into May, which also happens to be mental health awareness month, I felt the need to highlight the concept of self-care, which is so crucial in combating anxiety and stress. Challenges are mounting, whether their source be work, kids, family or the people closest to us. Research shows that parents of children with mental illness are at risk of developing mental health issues themselves. For anyone experiencing burnout, making space for me time is absolutely essential.
If we know prioritising some crucial me time in our daily schedule can help increase our well-being, then why do we keep putting it off? Often, we feel we don’t deserve it, which is why we don’t make time for it, or we just feel downright guilty when we occasionally indulged in it. I felt exactly this way when my children were young, and I was starting my handbag business House of Sheens. I believed multitasking and having a work-related task occupy just about every minute of my time equated to success.
I would pat myself on my broken back and think the world of my tired, exhausted self. I thought that was the key to success and I believed success and happiness were interlinked.
Turns out I was wrong. I can barely remember what my days even felt like, or what I was actually doing when I was working back then. I remember driving, being on the phone, eating a packed lunch—on repeat—numb to the hectic pace of everyday life. I still worked out, spent time with my family, friends and felt happy—but I don’t think that, inside, I cared for myself enough. I felt guilty if I did too much for me.
Taking care of yourself is not selfish, and when we fail to do so and suffer from stress, we can sometimes inadvertently impact the people that we work and live with in a negative way.
The misconception is believing me time or self-care simply means indulging in pricey spa sessions and switching off from reality, kids, family and work. But me time can actually be simpler, and can go beyond the physical. For me, it means carving out a few moments in the day to rest and repair the body and soul—it’s a time to plug in and recharge myself both mentally and physically.