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‘Me time’ – some holiday reading

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It’s holiday season! So pack your passport and sun cream and put your tray tables and seat backs in the upright position. Holidays should be about relaxing, having fun and enjoying time with your family. But that doesn’t always come easy and, as women, this comes with a very particular set of challenges.

We are told we can have it all – career, kids, relationships and still get to the gym 3 times a week, but in reality that takes some serious juggling, and we can often feel like we are keeping plates spinning rather than functioning properly in our own lives.

This year, when you get on the plane, instead of staring out of the window, sorting the kids’ ipads or leafing through the in-flight magazine, maybe take a minute to listen to the safety briefing.

Aside from the obvious – that it would come in handy in an emergency… it might also save your life… or at least improve it, and the lives of those around you.

“In the event of an emergency, secure your oxygen mask before assisting others”

We spend so much of our lives worrying about others and putting their needs before our own that ‘me time’ easily slips to the bottom of our to do list, but the benefits of a small amount of ‘me time’ are huge, and the changes in how you feel put you in a much stronger place to better help and support others.

According to a study last year by, women, and particularly mothers, are the worst culprits – with 51 per cent regularly going weeks without even a minute of relaxation, and the average mother managing to squeeze in a depressing 17 minutes of ‘me time’ a day – less than 2 hours a week!

But when there aren’t enough hours to do everything we’d like to do, why should we prioritise ‘me time’?

Simple. Relentlessly pushing ourselves to get through the to do list might work for a couple of days, or even a couple of weeks, but over longer periods it’s a recipe for disaster. If you exercised constantly without rest and recovery you’d need a sit down. Going without rest and recovery in life has the same effect, and can have serious impact on our bodies and minds. From insomnia to diabetes, and heart attacks to strokes, there is an outrageously long list of physical and mental side effects linked to a lack of ‘me time’.

Recharging your batteries in a way that suits you gives you enough “oxygen” to be most useful to the important people in your life, so actively choose your ‘me time’ and make it work for you.

So what will you do with your 17 minutes?

The benefits for you and those around you of allowing yourself your own brand of ‘me time’ are obvious. Fitting it in, not so much. But give it a go, if not for yourself then for all those who rely on you.

Sweat it out

The benefits of an exercise routine aren’t rocket science, and we all know we should be getting our 30 minutes of brisk exercise a few times a week. But that isn’t easy to fit into a busy routine. Running is a great way to give yourself a bit of breathing space, recharge the batteries and switch off from the stresses of the day. If there’s another type of exercise you prefer then do that – a 20 minute exercise DVD or an hour’s spin class at the gym gets just as many ‘me time’ points – that change of scenery or pace might be all your brain needs to reboot and get back in the game.

Be mindful

Join the trend that’s gaining momentum with some mindfulness meditation. Apps like Headspace offer daily guided meditations, and are a fab way to squeeze in a few minutes for yourself. It will amaze you what a few minutes can do for your mind, improving focus and helping you to make the most of the rest of your day.

Getting it on the to do list

It may not rank high on your to do list in the midst of packing your suitcase, checking those tickets and making sure you don’t have any liquids in your hand luggage. But, once all of that is sorted and you’re sat on that plane, give that safety announcement 2 minutes of attention – and before you touch down, commit to one thing you’ll do that day as your ‘me time’.

Get the oxygen you need, so you can help others with theirs.

As of the 7th of August 2015

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