Make time for YOU. (Photo: Stocksy/Yahoo)
Juggling a job, social life, family, and household chores often leaves little time for dedicated me-time. But setting aside a few minutes for solitude is hugely important for your well-being, experts say, and could even have benefits for your health and career.
“Quality me-time improves concentration, increases productivity, and helps you problem-solve more efficiently,” psychologist and stress management expert Sherrie Bourg Carter, PsyD, author of High Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout, tells Yahoo Health. “It allows you to get a better understanding of yourself.”
Research backs up the notion that quality time spent on you — and just you —has payoffs elsewhere in life. A recent study out of Birkbeck University of London, for instance, shows that female professionals who experience high-quality me-time enjoy better work-life balance and are more engaged at the office.
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And it’s hugely important that time spent alone is truly spent alone, Carter says. “Although there are stress-relieving benefits to doing activities (or just hanging out and relaxing) in a group or with another person, it’s not the same as me-time,” she says.
But let’s be real: To have me-time, you must have, well, time. Fortunately, Carter says, there’s no magic number of minutes or hours you have to set aside each day to reap the benefits. “Take what time you can get when you get it and make the most out of it,” Carter says. Instead of watching hours of TV, try writing in a journal, going for a run, or looking at old pictures instead. The best part: Setting aside a few minutes for yourself can actually help you on the job, too. Below, find six ways me-time can help you be more successful at work:
1. Enables You To Get Work Done Faster
Being completely alone means learning how to disconnect from the world around you. “When you remove as many distractions as you can from your day, you are better able to concentrate,” Carter says. Apply the same actions you take during me-time — turning off your cellphone, for example — to help improve your focus and productivity. That to-do list you’ve been attempting to complete all morning just got easier to tackle without the interruption of a text message or calendar alert every 10 minutes.
2. Inspires Creativity
It’s hard to find time to reflect and be in the moment if you’re constantly distracted by all of life’s pressures and responsibilities. By taking a moment for yourself, you can break away from your day-to-day routine, engage in some deep thought, and spark some transformative creativity, according to a study from George Mason University.
3. Leads You To Be More Assertive
“When you’re part of a group, you’re more likely to go along with what the group is doing or thinking, which isn’t always the actions you would take on your own,” Carter says. But when you make regular me-time a priority, all that alone time can help you be more independent and confident in your own decisions, Carter says — including in the office.
4. Helps You To Solve Problems
It’s easy to get caught up in a problem when everyone around you is sharing an opinion or concern and distracting you from finding a solution. Any solo activity that allows self-discovery and separation from social constraints can improve your ability to problem-solve, according a study from the University of Massachusetts. Take a breather from the group and the office setting and look at the issue from a new perspective.
5. Fosters An Appreciation For Your Coworkers
Alone time can be exactly as you expect: lonely. But spending time solo can actually help you better enjoy your social connections, including those at work. “You may come to appreciate your relationships more after you’ve spent some time alone,” Carter says.
6. Allows You To Find Your Passion
No one else is able to tell you what makes you happy. Quality me-time will give you a sense of self-awareness that will help you to see what you actually want to do in life. You’ll learn what inspires you, what excites you, and what you want to spend your time doing even if you have to experience it by yourself, Carter says.
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