In the feedback session at the conclusion of a recent “The Practice of Happiness” retreat that I was co-facilitating, one of the participants stated “From now on I am creating “Me” time every day. One hour a day is “Me” time. I immediately held up my hand and stopped her. “Please don’t” I said. “As a single mother of a very active 2 1/2 year old and holding down a full time job, trying to find an hour a day of “Me” time is going to be virtually impossible. I can almost guarantee you that after a week you will have given up. Try starting with 5 minutes a day. Just 5. Maybe after the little one has settled down for the night. Or just before you get up in the morning. You will have a better chance of committing to 5 minutes a day, and sticking with it, than with a whole hour.”
Isn’t that what we always do? “I need to meditate daily” or “I need to exercise for 45 minutes a day”. We put this enormous pressure on ourselves, add yet another thing to that “To Do” list and then wonder why we can never sustain the changes we want to make. Frustrated we give up because we never can find that magical hour of “Me” time.
We underestimate the power of 5 or 10 minutes, Here is a challenge. Get yourself an egg timer, or set the alarm on your phone for 5 minutes from now. Start some task that has been niggling you for a while now. Filing (do you pile, not file, like me?), clearing out a drawer, or a shelf in a cupboard that’s been needing attention for ages now. I think you will be surprised at just how much you can achieve in those 5 minutes. I bought a beautiful glass timer, packaged in a satin lined box, that I use in the office for specific tasks. It’s a 45 minute timer and I am constantly amazed at how long 45 minutes actually is!
But back to the “Me” time. Create just 5 minutes in your day to sit quietly. Breathe. Deeply. Let go. Look around. Be aware of your body. Observe your thoughts. Don’t engage with them, just be aware of how busy the mind is. Smile at it indulgently. You don’t have to follow all those thoughts. Like clouds drifting across the sky just observe. I always tell workshop participants and clients that if all else fails, have a quiet few moments in the loo! If you can sustain this small daily discipline, you may find after a while that the 5 minutes has stretched to 10, or 15 and oh, joy of joys, now and again you do create that golden hour that is all yours.
Set the intention to find 5 minutes in a busy day to be with yourself. Yes, you can. Put the phone on silent, turn off all the distractions. Maybe instead of gulping down that cup of tea or coffee, sit back and enjoy every sip.Take that one small step to creating a new and positive habit for yourself. Just 5 minutes of quiet time to reconnect with your Soul, to centre and ground yourself. And if you happen to miss a day, well, it certainly isn’t the end of the world and tomorrow is a new start. Only you can make the changes needed to regain a sense of balance. Small steps, that’s what it takes. And if not now, then when?