The Importance of Me Time

I’m convinced us collegiettes are super human. We’re masters of multitasking.  I’ve always been proud that I could do homework for one class while working on a group project for another class, talking to a friend over text, and calling my parents on the phone all while watching my favorite show on TV. It sounds absolutely insane, but I bet a lot of you can do the same.

We’re able to go to school, have a career, have a social life, have meaningful relationships, even have families and yet, still be successful at it all. But a lot of the time, we sacrifice ourselves and our well-being to be successful at everything else. It takes a toll on us mentally and physically. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice ourselves to do everything we want to. We need to have a little bit of me time every once in awhile, especially with midterms knocking at our front door.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “me time” as “Time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy.” Trying to keep up with everything and everyone is difficult and exhausting. All of our time is devoted to other things besides ourselves. Don’t feel guilty. You deserve some time to yourself, you amazing super human being. This time is meant to help you recuperate and rest.

It might seem like this time you’re spending on yourself is completely pointless and a waste of your time because it could be used to accomplish other things on your to-do list. According to Woman's Day Magazine, me time can actually increase your focus, give you a more positive outlook, be a better decision maker, get better sleep and help you achieve your goals. Katherine L. Muller, Psy.D., the Associate Director at the Center for Integrative Psychotherapy says, "Solitary time can help you have a better understanding of yourself, your thoughts and your emotions.”

Some people might not realize how much your emotions and mental well-being are linked with your physical well-being. Psychotherapist, Cherilynn Veland, MSW, author of “Stop Giving It Away: How to Stop Self-Sacrificing and Start Claiming Your Space, Power and Happiness,” says, “ If we aren’t taking time to rest, relax, re-energize and restore, bad things will happen eventually. Chronic stress increases the risk for a wide range of psychological and physical health conditions including anxiety, depression, heart disease, digestive disorders and sleep problems.” That’s right. Heart disease, depression and digestive problems can all be caused by not giving yourself a break. So some people aren’t kidding when they tell you to slow down because you’re making yourself sick. It’s actually true!

The important part is to make yourself a priority. You’re important. In college, it’s incredibly difficult to find any spare time for ourselves, especially during midterms and finals. Sometimes I wonder how I could possibly make time for myself when I have so much to do. The only time I actually have to myself is when I’m in the shower or sleeping. During midterms and finals week, I feel like I’m running on autopilot because all of my energy is drained out of me and I have no time to recharge the batteries. Is it even possible? Again, yes! But like everything else, it’s your responsibility to make time for it and make yourself a priority.

Me time doesn’t need to be a whole day event (unless you want it to be). Most of us don’t have that kind of time. Me time can be 5-10 minutes or an hour or two, because sometimes quality's better than quantity. WebMD says that your me time should be as important as a doctor’s visit or any other appointment in your schedule. Schedule your me time and stick to it! Don’t cancel for something else.

If you only have 5-10 minutes, you could listen to music, cuddle with your pet or do some deep breathing. With more time, try taking a walk. We have an amazingly beautiful campus here at the U of M. Take advantage of it. Walk along the Mississippi River or across the Stone Arch Bridge and take some pictures for your Instagram while you’re at it. My favorite place to go to unwind is the maroon bridge that is in between the Washington Ave. footbridge and the 10th Ave. Bridge. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset over the skyline and to see the city go from day to all lit up at night. I know other people like to spend their me time laying in the grass in the mall area between classes. Just don’t fall asleep and miss all your other classes. You could also try soaking in a tub with some essential oils, bubble bath or epsom salts like in all of those movies. If baths aren’t your thing, maybe read a book or go to the spa. Everyone can use a mani-pedi or a massage. There are so many possibilities.  Still don’t have an idea? Think of anything that makes you happy, or anything that you’ve wanted to do but neverhave, and do it! It could be anything.

For your mental health and well-being, make some time for yourself. It’s not something that you should feel guilty about. Your mental health is the most important thing. Without it, there’s no way you’ll be able to get to that long to-do list anyway! If you realize it now and make an effort to set aside me time, you’ll be much happier. You’ll be an even better version than your already amazing, super-human self.