Me time – a selfish indulgence or a necessity?

Picture this.

6:00 am. A mom jumps up out of bed and splashes water on her face.

She buzzes throughout the house from bedroom to bedroom waking children, all while picking up some random laundry items from the floor of each room.

The dogs go out, breakfast and lunches are made. She hops into a very quick shower, gets herself dressed, finds hubby’s chronically missing keys, gets kids out the door, the dogs come back in and she’s off to work. Whew.  And if you’re already familiar with this story, you already know it doesn’t get any easier. A working mom’s day doesn’t end until she falls into bed at 10:00 pm that night.

I dare say, this is the life of a working mom. And working dads for that matter.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re all experiencing a crankier, rude and truly angry world.

A huge percentage of people today just don’t experience any down time. They don’t allow themselves solitude, “me time” or feel the joy that comes from following a passion.

“But Tracey”, you may ask, “Haven’t you always said work should be your passion?”

Yes. Yes I have. And it should. But there is a caveat in that at the end of the day it’s still WORK. And I firmly believe to be successful at work, we need to allow our minds and souls the time to relax and breathe.

Building a successful brand has been a crazy, exciting and completely gratifying ride but there is a part of me, my soul perhaps, that needs to feel the joy and freedom that comes with enjoying a hobby, discovering something new, playing sports, reading a book, cooking and even taking a much needed nap.

Playing the drums really allows me to bang away the stress of a crazy day

Playing the drums really allows me to bang away the stress of a crazy day

So many of us are driven by the want and need to be successful. Successful parents, business owners, employees. We’re so caught up in this fast paced ride that we’ve forgotten how to decompress.

I think many of us feel guilty indulging our soul’s wants or needs. We feel compelled to keep driving ourselves (and unfortunately for some, our children as well). Burnout is a real danger here. Physical as well as mental. It’s no wonder families fall apart. How can anyone be happy and refreshed when they’re constantly going, going, going?

I’m here to tell you it’s okay to stop. I’m asking you to stop. Cut yourself some slack, sit down, close your eyes and breathe. There. Now listen to me.

Allowing yourself to have a rest, to take up a hobby or to read a book is not a luxury. It’s a must. And if you feel that spending money on playing a round of golf, learning how to ride a horse or going scuba diving isn’t in the budget, know that there are many ways to enjoy me time without breaking the bank.

Schedule some time for yourself. Shut off your cell phone! (Or better yet…Leave it behind.) Take a walk in a park, on the beach or in the city. Try not to think about anything but the moment you are experiencing. Sit on a bench and people watch. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in. Exhale out all of the stress you’re holding inside. Then keep your mind quiet.

Lie in the grass and watch the clouds. Say a prayer of gratitude. Enjoy the feeling of peace and contentment that comes with allowing yourself the time just to be.

Tracey Noonan of Wicked Good Cupcakes with drumming legend Dick DiCenso

I love spending time taking drum lessons from the legendary Dick DiCenso. Who wouldn’t love that smile!

Understand with the reality of our lives, you may not be able to escape every day. But 2-3 times a week is not unreasonable. You do have the time. The hardest part of this exercise is just doing it.

Write “me time” into your schedule if that helps. Do anything you can to insure success. It’s really hard to leave the phone behind and walk out the door. But I can tell you that once you do, I guarantee you’ll want to again. And again.

Our lives are busy. It’s simply the fast paced world we live in. But by allowing yourself an escape, whatever form that is, you will help yourself to remain inspired, recharged and happy. Some of my best ideas, speeches and marketing ideas happen on walks or during relaxing baths. It makes total sense. When my mind is at rest, I’m more creative and ideas begin to flow. It just happens. (PS: Keep a notebook handy so you don’t lose those precious ideas! lol.)

Until next time, please be kind to yourself. Your family, coworkers and the world around you will thank you for it.

~ T.