It always strikes me how many of my massage and aromatherapy clients report feeling better as soon as they lie down on the massage couch. The treatment hasn’t even started but already they’re feeling calmer and more relaxed. Of course, it helps that the room is peaceful and they’re warm and comfortable but the main reason is that they have finally allowed themselves to relax. They’ve given themselves permission to indulge in some ‘Me Time’ and this instantly makes them feel better.
Now as a therapist myself it probably goes without saying that I’m a huge advocate for the numerous benefits of massage and aromatherapy, or indeed any other treatment that helps people to relax, de-stress and let go of their tension. But Me Time doesn’t necessarily have to be something you schedule into the diary and you shouldn’t feel you have to earn it with a week of 9 hour stints at the office or an exhausting day of running around after the kids. There are plenty of ways for you to enjoy a few moments of quality Me Time throughout the day. And you should never feel guilty about doing so!
If you’d have told me a few years ago that I would one day come to enjoy a daily meditation practise I would have laughed. A lot. I was a super-busy working mum, always on the go and without so much as a second to myself. Where on earth would I find the time to sit down and meditate???
In fact, it wasn’t until I started training in Relaxation Therapy that I realised just how important it was to start prioritising a bit of Me Time into my daily routine. How could I justify telling someone else how to make time for themselves when I couldn’t manage it? So I started to think carefully about exactly where my time went each day. Which of my jobs and chores really needed to be done and what was I just doing out of habit? Did I really need to be checking my phone so many times throughout the day? Was I actually watching TV in the evening or was I just staring at it because it was on? After a bit of consideration I began to see ways I could carve out some time for myself and I can promise you the results were well worth it. I began to feel lighter, less stressed and generally much more calm.
If you’re reading this and thinking there’s no way you could fit 15 minutes of Me Time into your day then stop for a minute and really consider what you’re spending your time on. What could you be doing less of? How are you currently spending any free time you get and do you feel any better after it?
Hopefully you’ll be able to identify some ways you can free up a little of your time each day. Then comes the fun part as you’ll need to start planning how you will spend your new-found Me Time. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Consider whether you could wake up a little earlier and try a short meditation first thing in the morning (this is one of the best times to meditate as the mind is generally a bit quieter). Meditation can be tricky, especially at first, but there are loads of books, websites and apps for support.
Take a break during the day to go for a walk. You get the benefit of fresh air, exercise and it’s a great way to clear your head and re-focus.
Do you commute to work? Why not make this time work for you and find some ways to turn it into something you actually find relaxing! You could play some music that you find calming or try an audio book.
If you’re not driving, have a go at listening to a guided visualisation or a short meditation.If you’re looking after the kids, why not try some guided meditations for children and get them to join in too? If they still nap then use some of this time for yourself instead of feeling you have to get everything else done. If they sleep ON you (as mine used to!) then try a relaxing breathing exercise or use the opportunity to listen to some calming music.
How about switching the TV off for half an hour in the evening and reading a book or enjoying a warm, relaxing bath?
You may have to be a little creative and you may find you have to change your mind-set a little but if you really want to find some time for yourself each day then I promise you it can be done!
Anna Stone is the founder of Calme Therapies based in High Wycombe, Bucks. She offers a range of complementary therapies including aromatherapy, massage and relaxation therapy. Anna specialises in working with clients suffering from stress and tension.
For more information or to contact Anna please visit her website