Whether you’re a high-flying businesswoman, a supermom, or somewhere in-between, women take on lots of roles throughout their lives. A daughter, a mom, a caregiver, a colleague, a wife, a girlfriend, a confidant… sometimes we’re all of these things at once.
While that’s all good and well, giving to others takes energy, which can be easily depleted, resulting in stress, anxiety and even illness. With this in mind, here are 6 ways you can grab some crucial “me-time” so that you can recharge and refresh yourself, and have plenty to give those around you:
1. Get a good night’s sleep
This is probably the most underrated way of refreshing yourself. While some people can survive on less sleep than others, you should be aiming for a consistent block of sleep each night. According to sleep research, it’s not just the amount of sleep you get that matters — it’s also consistency of the schedule that matters. This means you should aim to get to sleep roughly the same time each night.
2. Do something creative
People often think being creative is reserved for fine artists like painters or sculptors. But creativity comes in many different forms, which could include anything from gardening or baking to interior design or dancing. Taking time to get in touch with your creative side is an excellent way of energising yourself and rediscovering a natural joy of life that comes so naturally to us as children, and that many of us lose once we become adults.
While it is true that doing exercise takes energy, the surprising thing is that the fitter you get, the more energy exercise actually gives you. Even if you’re not a natural athlete, regularly getting your heart rate up by walking, dancing or swimming are all very effective ways to keep you healthy, and get the endorphins flowing to give you a more positive outlook.
4. Keep a journal
Writing down your thoughts on paper can be an effective way of processing the thoughts in your head, and making sense of anxious or stressful times in your life. In “The Artist’s Way”, author Julia Cameron suggests you take 10-15 minutes of your morning as soon as you wake up to write down any thoughts that come to mind. These “morning pages” then become a way of clearing out any repetitive or “junk” thoughts on your head so that you feel clearer, more focused and more content.
5. Treat yourself
With the busy lives we all lead, not many of us give ourselves permission to spoil ourselves. This could mean different things to different women. If you’re time pressed, maybe that means 30 minutes to yourself relaxing with a magazine, or maybe it’s taking an hour or two for a really decadent manicure/pedicure (like one of the Africology mani/pedis offered by YouBar, which are almost like mini spa days!). Or, maybe it’s simply getting your hair blow-dried on a Monday morning before work.
Whatever it is, consider blocking out time in your diary once a month to find that special pampering session that makes you feel groomed and good about yourself.
Taking time out each day to calm the mental noise in your head is one of the best things you can do to refresh your mind. From the minute you wake up to the moment you go to sleep your brain is chattering, and meditation is an excellent way of pausing this incessant mental activity.
The good news is, you don’t need to be a spiritual master or a meditation expert to make this a regular practice. Simply taking 10 minutes each morning to sit quietly and listen to your breath can be hugely effective in quieting your mind and keeping you grounded as you go about your day.
Looking after yourself also doesn’t mean being selfish – in fact, it’s the opposite. It’s that old saying that an air hostess tells you at the beginning of a flight: in case of emergency, make sure your oxygen mask is on yourself first before helping someone else with theirs. In the same way, giving yourself permission to recharge and refresh means you’ll feel more content, more energised and more productive, which in turn means you’ll have a whole lot more energy to give to those around you.