Don’t You Forget about You
There is nothing more satisfying to my soul then grabbing my favourite coffee from Starbucks and perusing the aisles of Chapters.
This is my happy place.
I have spent countless hours walking up and down the aisles, reading summaries on the jackets of books to see what my next adventure will be; whether it is learning a new skill, diving into someone’s life story, a new challenge for an area of my life or simply encouragement in my faith.
I joyfully find all these endeavors waiting there for me.
It has also been a place of great conversation and inspiration. I have met many friends at Chapters where we have walked through the bookstore and chatted about our day-to-day lives and what God’s been teaching us.
How I miss these moments.
I miss my me time. I miss my weekly escape of expectations of others, job requests, and the everyday struggles.
Lockdown has changed what my me time has looked like over this past year, as these moments that fill me have been deemed unessential and unsafe in a pandemic.
Living in a state of pandemic has created new levels of added stress, trauma and languish.
It has heaped responsibilities on to already full schedules.
Mothers with school aged children had to take on added responsibilities of online learning and the constant back and forth decisions of children going from in class learning to online and back again has been an exhausting, inconsistent move to calculate.
Mothers who had out of home responsibilities and/or engagements were now tied to their home in order to aid their children in ways they were never trained for nor planned for in their day-to-day schedules.
Women who now have to work from home no longer get to have the luxury of having a healthy transition from work to home in a commute, and now live in an atmosphere of stress that was once a haven and work free zone.
Essential workers have the added stress of all the precautions and pandemic protocols on top of their work responsibilities, while having to be in constant contact with strangers all day that may or may not carry a deadly virus.
Then there are the ladies who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and the ones who find themselves falling into all the preceding categories.
So. Much. Added. Stress.
It is easy to forget about taking time for ourselves, or even how and where to do that with so many changes in our lives.
The ways of before have changed- the women who enjoyed grabbing a coffee on the way to work while having that quiet drive in, or the woman who, once the kids were off to school, had the time to meet up with friends over lunch, is presently gone.
So, how do we replace what we did for our me time or even find time for that?
The benefits of taking me time are plenty- this time feeds you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It brings a greater patience and a more positive attitude to relationships, helps you feel more rested and energized, bringing more mental clarity, and helping maintain resilience for the hard things while you wholeheartedly care for others.
When me time does not happen we can easily feel worn out, worn down, and start running on empty. We may then find ourselves wandering into compassion fatigue, emotional fatigue and burnout.
The Bible tells us the value of rest and taking time for ourselves. We see that especially in the life of Jesus as He took many moments to be alone to gather himself and rest.
“…After leaving them, he (Jesus) went up on a mountainside to pray.” Mark 6:46 NIV, and Matthew 14:22; we see more instances of Jesus taking alone time in: Luke 6:12; Mark 6:31-32; Mark 7:24
Which leads us back to our earlier question, how do we replace our me time with new events and find time for it?
1. We first need to think about how much time is needed, and what that time could consist of. Some people need a lot of me time, while others are fine with just a few minutes here and there. Do you know which one you are?
2. We know that the pandemic has changed and limited what we can do for our me time, so the second question to ask yourself is- once I figure out how much time I need, what things can I do to fill my soul?
I polled friends and asked what they do for their me time to help those needing a little inspiration, especially with our options being a bit more limited.
Can you find yourself resonating with any of these options?
- Having a cup of tea while sitting on her dock
- Listening to worship music or a sermon
- Taking a walk
- Taking 5 minutes alone in the bathroom… with the door locked
- Making sure the kitchen is clean at night to have a fresh start in the a.m.
- Having a bath after the kids are gone to bed
- Grocery shopping, errands
- Sitting in the car having a coffee while running errands (and maybe sitting a little longer than usual)
- Watching a movie where you do not have to think
- Watching a DIY program
- Watching wholesome entertainment
- Drinking a good quality cup of coffee
- Enjoying a yummy meal
- Being intentional about getting more sleep, or getting up earlier
- Turning off your smartphone for a period of time
- Reading outside in nature
- Sitting in a hammock
Consider how life could feel getting back into the routine of having some me time when you know you need a recharge. Think of how you will feel and how you will be able to live out your life in more fulfilling ways- you’re worth living a life that you enjoy, even amongst a pandemic.