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Zeit für „Ich“ finden

von NFI Redaktion

Today’s women are told that we have it all – careers, families, children, social involvement, and relationships. But all too often, when we have it all, we have neither the time nor the energy for ourselves.

Recent studies have shown that women today are less happy than they have been in the past 40 years. There are many theories as to why this might be the case, but lack of leisure time could be a major reason.

„Women are under tremendous stress and pressure: as parents, daughters, mothers, wives, or working professionals. All these roles combined lead to many of us neglecting to take care of ourselves – the very thing that sustains us and gives us vitality,“ says Randy Kamen Gredinger, a psychologist and life coach specializing in women’s issues from Wayland, MA.

Whether you are taking care of toddlers, anxiously waiting for your teenager to come home, caring for your aging parents – or all of the above – every woman needs a break for sanity’s sake every now and then. That means taking time each day to do something for yourself.

But how can you make it happen?

First, make yourself aware of how important it is.

„I have been talking to women for years about this, and it seems hard for us to feel like we deserve to be put on our own priority list,“ says Amy Tiemann, author of Mojo Mom: Nurturing Yourself While Raising a Family and founder of Mojomom.com.

„If you can’t do it because you feel you deserve it, think of it this way: you are a first responder. An emergency can happen at any time, and you should be as rested and recharged as you would like,“ Tiemann says. „I want YOU to be the emergency room doctor or paramedic,“ Tiemann says. „And also, you’ll be a better parent and partner if you take care of yourself. It’s more fun to be around you, and you can be more present for your family.“

So, you’re convinced. It is time to take time for yourself. When can you fit it in? Don’t wait for time to magically appear. It won’t.

Make your leisure time as important as a visit to the pediatrician, the conference call, or your meeting with the contractor. Treat it like any other appointment.

„You have to schedule recharging time,“ says Margaret Moore, Co-Director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. „We are great at project management in our professional lives, but not as good in our personal lives. Treat it like any project: I want to recharge my batteries so I don’t feel as exhausted and drained.“

Try to find at least half an hour to an hour for yourself every day. It doesn’t have to be all at once. And before you decide what to do with the time you’ve set aside in your schedule, commit to not wasting it.

„We are a multitasking society. When we are talking to a friend, we are thinking about the other things we need to do,“ says Allison Cohen, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles. „Instead, you need to be present in the moment. Whatever you do for yourself, don’t think about your grocery list or the PowerPoint presentation. There is plenty of time in our day that we could enjoy, but we lose it because we focus on what we need to do next.“

You don’t need a lot of time. Here are ideas on how to make the most of even just 5 minutes of „me“ time:

  • Sit on the porch with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. Or a cup of coffee and NO newspaper. Just watch the clouds go by. No phone or calendar allowed.
  • Call a friend to chat. This is not about planning the bake sale or organizing the neighborhood watch – just talk without an agenda.
  • Move. Get up from your desk, stretch, and walk around the block or up and down a flight of stairs.
  • Take deep breaths. While sitting in your office, car, or home, focus on breathing slowly and gently for five minutes. It’s okay if your thoughts wander a bit, but don’t plan what you need to do next – just follow your breath.
  • Cuddle your pet. Focus on snuggling with your cat or dog for 5 minutes. You’ll both feel better.
  • Put on your iPod and hit shuffle. Then just sit and listen.
  • Read a chapter of a book you’ve been wanting to make time for. Set up a basket in your office or living room with a good book, a magazine, a crossword puzzle, or other brief indulgences.
  • Find a nearby park and take a brisk walk.
  • Putter. This does not mean cleaning the house or organizing your kids‘ clothes. Instead, it means doing small things at home that bring you joy, like pruning the rosebush and putting together a bouquet for your office or kitchen.
  • Soak in the tub. If you are a parent, make sure another adult is on duty so that no one is yelling „Mom!“ Plan ahead to have some great bath supplies on hand. Don’t forget a glass of ice water or wine.
  • Treat yourself to a massage, facial, or mani-pedi.
  • Take a nap.
  • Sign up for a class you’ve always wanted to take just for fun. For example, Amy Tiemann took an improvisational comedy class to have an evening to herself after giving birth to her daughter.
  • Plan a long walk with a friend. Commit to it at the beginning of the week and follow through. You’re not training for anything, you’re not trying to race, you’re just taking a long walk with a good friend and enjoying the day.

Add your own favorites to these lists. Whatever you do with your „me“ time, make it relaxing and rejuvenating.

„If it’s not working for you, try something else,“ Moore says. „‚Shoulds‘ are the enemy of relaxation. Don’t think about what you should be doing, think about what makes you successful.“

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