“Me time” is the term used for any time whose purpose is to prioritise the fulfilment or the restoration of the self.
If we have projects to do which are very “us”, then we can use our “me time” to do them. Our fulfilment is frequently in conflict with the interests of others, and a tension builds up: do I do what others want, or do I do my own thing? Developing the idea of “me time” is a good way of labelling self-fulfilment projects, and also of signposting them to others.
We may not have any personal projects to do, but we may be exhausted or out of balance in some way. “Me time”, in this context, is time which we are signposting to self or others as for personal recovery and restoration. It can include anything which counterbalances the things that drain us in our everyday life.
NEGOTIATING “ME TIME”
Many of us live within a network of relationships. We have bosses, colleagues, partners, family and friends to please, as well as ourselves. This requires negotiation and compromise.
The most important thing is to make sure the idea of “me time” is well understood by those around us. If it is not, then either our culture is unsympathetic, or the individuals surrounding us are unsympathetic. We may have a communication job on our hands.
If our friends or our job do not understand what it means to us to do our own thing sometimes, then the balance needs redressing. We teach others how to treat us, and we may need to start introducing the concept so that others stop taking us for granted.
Important skills to learn are:
- Pre-positioning “me time” – in other words, warning others when our “me time” is going to happen
- Enforcing “me time” – others may come in with sudden, last-minute requests. We need to learn to avoid this. A good technique is to go to a different place for “me time”, so that we can’t be caught off guard… we are already elsewhere!
- Rewarding others for giving us “me time” – we can communicate to others that we appreciate our “me time” by thankful behaviour, or even with little rewards. Parents may want to do this when encouraging their children to “set them free”.
- Allowing others their own “me time”. Fair’s fair, after all. We aren’t the most important person in the universe. We can keep an eye out, and take an interest in others’ projects and self-care.
In summary, “me time” is an important part of everyone’s life. It is the time we give our pet projects, and for our mind and body to come back into balance. We can do any activity we like that achieves this. We just need to make sure we have sufficient negotiating skills to help it happen.