The Importance of ‘Me Time’ for Mums

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Guest blogger Felicity Cook from Family Chiropractic Centre Charlestown explains why it’s so important for mums to have some time for themselves.

Tell me, honestly, when was the last time you had time just for you? Time doing only what you want to do? If you’re like many of the mums I speak with, it isn’t happening very often. Or if it is, it’s not really what you want it to be. So lets look at why Me Time is not something you should feel guilty about but something that is essential for your health and wellbeing but also for the health and wellbeing of the whole family.

Me time or time out is so important for many aspects of our health and wellbeing. And while we know this, many of us aren’t taking it. Professor Lyn Craig talks at length about this in Contemporary Motherhood: The Impacts of Children on Adult Time. The fact is, most of the leisure time that Mums have is spent with family members present. The needs and wants of the rest of the family come first.

Recently I was talking to Jody- a hard working Mum of three gorgeous kids. She was looking great and feeling a whole lot better than when I had seen her the week before. That day she had been in my office because she was sick. Jody wasn’t feeling well and the idea of doing the usual daily tasks for her family was overwhelming. Jody was on the verge of tears. She was worried that she letting everyone down. At the second visit we talked about all the things that helped her get better so quickly. Jodie said to me: “I went home and hopped straight into bed and caught on up on some sleep. I think that if I had’ve done that in the first place I probably wouldn’t have gotten so sick and overwhelmed.” It was a realisation that will not only help Jody but also her family in the future. We set some things in place to help her regular down time to ensure that she stays fit and healthy for her family.

Many mums that I speak to think that they just don’t have time for time out. But that shouldn’t be the case. If you can make it a weekend away with your partner or a day long pamper session with a friend then that is great. Although it doesn’t have to be as big or as planned as that. Time out can be as simple as a 30 minutes walk few times a week or a quiet 10 minutes each evening that is just for you. The thing to remember it serves you best if it is doing something you find relaxing, fun, if it is on your own or in good company. This creates the optimal moment to unwind.

There is no right or wrong way to spend your ‘me time’. Though it is best if it involves something that enhances your wellbeing. Health is the balance between physical wellbeing, biochemical wellbeing and social/emotional wellbeing. Of course there are somethings that are overall better for our health and wellbeing than others e.g. meditation or a yoga class. Sometimes it should be something more practical like a nap or a haircut. Other times a guilt free coffee or a catch up over a glass of wine is exactly what you need.

While we know it is important- do we look at free time or me time as a necessity? Because in reality we should. And this is the case for everyone really but especially mums. Jody is a perfect example of what happens if we don’t. Our health whether it be physical or emotional suffers if we don’t. There are so health benefits to time out. The biggest being that it helps reduce stress. With that there is often better self regulation, increased energy and you’re better able to deal with demands of daily life. Which certainly serves you but in the bigger picture beneficially serves your family better.

A wise mum shared this Michelle Bridges quote with me and it sums it up perfectly :

Theres a reason that when you get on the plane, they ask you to put your air mask on first. Thats not selfish. Thats survival 101. Take the guilt and emotion out of it. Its not selfish to put yourself first. In fact, its selfless, because everybody else gets the best of you.

So go on don’t feel guilty, take the emotion out of it and do something for yourself today…your kids and family will thank you for it.

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