It seems a little ironic for me to be writing this blog post, as over the last few weeks I haven’t taken much time to myself at all. Like most people I guess, when I am busy, the ‘me time’ is the first thing to go.
With the Easter school holidays, and our kitchen renovation (more coming on that soon), resting has been pretty sparse too.
Rest is of course, fundamental to our well-being, and everyone has their own way of unwinding and relaxing. Perhaps the idea of ‘me time’ for some folk sounds awful. The concept that we all need some time to ourselves to slow down and reconnect makes sense though, doesn’t it?
I have always loved spending time by myself. Even as a teenager I would while away the hours alone in my room listening to Billie Holiday or The Smiths, and generally contemplating the trials and tribulations of teenage life.
And now, as a mother of a curious and inquisitive five year old, sometimes it feels like during the day I don’t get much opportunity to finish a thought without some sort of interjection. As a result, I find it’s the silence and the time with my own thoughts that I crave. The chance to daydream and just think about things. Who would have thought someone would have so many things to think!
There are many different ways to rest, and some rest is more restorative than others. The idea of doing ‘nothing’ for some can be a challenge in itself, and I too sometimes struggle with this. If you fall into this category it can be easier if ‘resting’ is built into an activity like having a bath, or doing some yoga.
Nothing beats having a good potter with no particular purpose though. Passive resting or just ‘space’ in our day is where the real magic happens – that’s where those deep moments of slow appear.
It makes complete sense that really therapeutic resting happens in that period of free time were there is no pressure or expectations. Rest is the antithesis of productivity after all.
Of course, you don’t have to spend time by yourself to recuperate. I find having fun family time, when we are all happy and relaxed, is great way of filling us all up. Ideally I want there to be enough time in my week that I can get my fix of ‘me time’ as well as the important family time or ‘we time’.
I have read, and listened to a few things recently about how great it is to involve your children in the tasks you are doing. Well, since it has been the Easter holiday here, I was able to put that to the test. One morning I wanted to paint a cupboard for our kitchen in the garden, so I found Bailey some paints and a box to paint. It definitely did a good job of keeping her entertained, and allowed me to get on with what I wanted to do. However, she was much more productive than I was, and of course there was lots of stopping for various things, so it was almost impossible to get lost in that creative ‘flow’ which is so enjoyable whilst doing a creative task.
Time on my own, whether it’s doing something creative or some sort of activity, or doing very little, gives me a chance to completely tune into myself and recharge. I find it wonderful to be able to go at my own pace, and let my mind wander.
To be able to focus purely on ourselves for a while is essential to our wellbeing, yet we are often not very good at prioritising it.
Here are five simple things that I like to do to help me unwind, rest and relax.
How best to rest and take time for yourself…
- A hot bath – The warm water and any essential oils I use immediately chill me out and slow me down. Plus, I can’t do anything else when I am in the bath, it’s one of my favourite places to think.
- Nature – Out in the wilds is a great place to help me connect back to myself. It instantly changes my breath, it slows me down and grounds me better than anything else I know.
- Reading a book or watching a film – Getting lost in someone else’s story is a great way to get perspective on your own life.
- Pottering at home – It’s amazing what a good potter around our home does for my soul. The chance to gently spruce up and style little corners, calms me and improves my mood.
- Free creative play – A chance to create just for fun and get lost in that creative flow can be very healing.
Try to find space in your day to have no agenda, whether it’s as a family to just play, or as an individual to create with no pressure for any specific outcome or result. Like anything, if you have the intention to rest and recuperate, as opposed to just mindlessly watching anything on TV, then that’s a great place to start.
Once we start to prioritise resting and time to ourselves it’s amazing how it impacts the rest of our week in terms of mood, energy, focus and the ability to be present.
Are you someone who craves time alone? Would love to hear your favourite ways to rest and relax.
If you think you could do with some tips on how to slow down and find space for ‘me time’, then why not sign up to receive your own copy of my free E-book ‘The Slow Living Retreat‘ 7 days to slow down and reconnect back to yourself. I am currently busy writing and putting it all together for you and there will be more details to follow.