The other day, our car broke down, which was inconvenient for sure — especially because we had a hot, cranky, sweaty toddler covered in ice cream in tow. As I waited on hold with roadside assistance, the toddler screams got louder and showed no signs of stopping, so my husband and I did the not-so-graceful dance of diaper bags and sippy cups and he began the heroic trek home with her in the stroller while I waited for the tow truck.
So I sat there waiting in 90-degree weather, hungry, tired, sweating. Yet, I acted like was at Club Med.
Why wasn’t I annoyed about this inconvenience that was going to be an inconvenience for at least a day or two (…besides the obvious #firstworldproblem-ness of it all, of course)?
Because I had a guilt-free hour to myself!
The oh-so-elusive “Me time.”
Why does “me time” sound like such an evil thing? Why do so many of us feel like taking time for ourselves is detrimental to our businesses and our families when it’s the exact opposite? Why do we feel like doing something “unproductive” that we love to do is a waste of time when in fact it can be something that makes us better at our jobs, better partners, better parents?
Even though people are starting to recognize that “busy” is a four-letter word, I — and many people like me — feel guilty for taking time for myself and instead focus on all the things I “should be” doing.
You’ve heard, “Secure your own mask first before assisting others” so often you barely even hear the words when they are uttered by a flight attendant. But as we all know, those words apply as much to an in-flight catastrophe as they do to life’s cacophonies.
Taking regular, meaningful breaks and time for yourself will help you recharge and be more effective and creative. Don’t wait until you’re sitting in a hot car waiting for a tow truck to take a break.
Give yourself permission to rest and to do the things you love. The rest of your life — and the people in it — will thank you for it.