I’ve been cooped up at home all weekend. And it’s been great. Living in city like New York has gotten me accustomed to running around non-stop, which is great, but every now and then I get run overwhelmed with my to-do list, and I realize it’s because I haven’t taken the time for myself. It’s important to set aside time for you.
Here are a few ways to spend your “me time”:
1. Do nothing.
Well, not nothing, but take time to slow all the way down and unplug. Stare out of the window. Look up at the sky. Have some tea and write down a stream of thoughts as they come. Sketch. Turn your phone on silent and don’t peek for at least 20 minutes. It’s important to be productive, but it is also important to have clarity. Unplugging allows you to connect with what moves you at your core, and to take into consideration the things that are going on around us. Ask yourself: What do you want out of life? What is happening in the world? How can you carry out your passions as they relate to what is going on around you? In fact, there are many successful people who take 20 minutes a day to reflect. It’s essential to take time from the day-to-day and taking time to just think.
2. Treat yourself.
Ever heard the saying, “to pamper yourself, is to love yourself.” (Actually, I just made it up.) But—it’s true! It’s like taking yourself on a date. Even if it’s just taking a little longer than normal to style your hair for the next day. Or getting a massage. Or even doing a little clothes shopping. Or, going to dinner by yourself. Pampering manages stress levels and releases endorphins, and good emotional health allows you to better give to others, and work optimally. You’ll feel more relaxed and more energized once you get back to work.
3. Work out.
Speaking of releasing endorphins, make exercise a habit. Commit to doing something active outside of your normal commute for at least 15 minutes a day. Surprisingly, you can burn 165 calories in only 15 minutes, and consistent short workouts can help build the healthy habit of being active, and lead to increased activity over time. Even if you don’t have a goal of losing weight, exercise has great heart and mental health benefits, and the overall tone and flexibility doesn’t hurt either.
4. Read a book
Social media has become the first place we look for information, and a quick Google search brings the information of the world virtually to your fingertips. However, reading “allows a refreshing escape from ordinary, everyday pressures.” Books opens us up to other experiences and cultures, and self-help books can even help ease depression. Fiction books help us to be more empathetic, as a result of feeling physically transported into a new environment. Of course, non-fiction helps to expand our general knowledge. Just as exercise strengthens our bodies, reading strengthens our mind, helps us focus, and can even help prevent Alzheimer’s. And if you’re an e-reader, pick up a traditional book. Turning the pages actually helps connect our brain with what’s on the page and reinforces our memory of what we’ve read. If you have a tough time deciding on what to read, join a book club! Whether it meets in person or it only exists online, book clubs are a great way to discover interesting reads.
5. Find a hobby.
What do you like to do, that you aren’t getting paid for? If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your work, hobbies are one of the best ways to ignite creativity, tap into your natural intuition that can even lead to better decisions when you’re back at work. It may introduce social opportunities to meet like-minded people. Hobbies also help relieve stress and boost confidence. Another added benefit is, if you find yourself enjoying your hobby even more than your real work, you make your hobby into a business. Richard Branson believes that “entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you in life into capital, so that you can do more of it and move forward with it.” Pursuing a hobby full-time is something to consider if you don’t see your hobby purely as a way to disconnect from work.