Stress awareness day 2021: Making time for yourself

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Pradeepika Sharma

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As part of Stress Awareness Day 2021, Xander Associate Pradeepika highlights how taking time to focus on one’s passions and interests isn’t a selfish practice but instead a necessity to a happy and productive life – her motto is simple: “Love yourself and the rest will follow.”

 

Life has become extremely busy for everyone. In this busy and hectic life we take no notice of ourselves. Then again, in today’s time, making “me” a priority is not being selfish. It is important to care for yourself to care for others who depend on us. It is when we are happy, we can give happiness and joy to others.

Taking “Me time” is a conscious effort to make time for the activities you are interested in or are passionate about. “Me time” doesn’t have to be a whole day, just 20 mins or an hour a day focusing on yourself is more than enough. It is crucial to step away from social media, work, and chores.

I can’t emphasise enough on the benefits of taking time for yourself. Starting from:

 

Reducing stress and unwinding

Rebooting your brain and becoming more productive

Improving concentration and focus

Rejuvenation and relaxation

Work-life balance

Greater well-being

 

But the big question is how do you make time for these things? Creating a fixed time in your routine for yourself seems impossible considering the demands of the modern day life.

During one of the wellness sessions at Xander training, I learnt about the “The tale of the overflowing teacup”. The story talks about a scholar who visits a Zen master to learn about life, wisdom and enlightenment. The Zen master politely suggests discussing this matter while having a cup of tea. The Zen master starts pouring the tea into the cup for the scholar. The cup fills up, but the Zen master keeps pouring. The scholar, astonished, yells, “Stop, the cup is full. Can’t you see?” Then the Zen master replies, “Empty your cup”, adding that the scholar is already full of ideas and nothing more can be absorbed.

It’s the same thing we need to do with our own routines. To overcome the struggle of finding time for ourselves, we need to empty our cup. We need to get rid of  afew things to make time for ourselves – our “Me time”. Look for opportunities where you can delegate work, spend less time on social media, reduce tv time, etc. Evaluate different areas of your life to identify where you can make changes to find time for yourselves.

Here are a few things you can do to ease that stress away:

 

Indulging in a hobby

Having a hobby (like drawing, painting, sewing, cooking, crafts, photography etc.) is both enjoyable and helps you spend quality time with your own self. Spending time doing activities that interest you may end up as a talent as well. Bob Ross once said that “Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.” and I totally agree with it. The activities you do as a hobby can ease any stress caused by the pressure of performing well. You can be yourself and experiment and try out new ways of practicing it. It generates this sense of curiosity in you. It aids problem solving, sense of purpose, autonomy and in the end leads to mastery.

I have developed a real passion for watercolour painting – it is challenging, yet relaxing. You can see some of my work here:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p.s.ilovewatercolours/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/PradeepikaSharma

 

Going for a walk

We all know the benefits of a walk. Mostly we talk about the physical ones. But going on walk all by yourself just looking at the nature and reflecting upon yourself is a perfect me time activity. Put on some music if you fancy and just focus on yourself. Walking alone takes off the pressure of confinement of schedule. Plan if you want to, take out a map and explore new areas. You can think of it as a walking meditation.

 

Practicing Meditation & Mindfulness

I feel this is the simplest and most difficult of all the activities. We have all forgotten how to just be still. There are different types of meditation: spiritual, mindfulness, focused and mantra movement, to name a few. For me personally, meditation is when I sit and spend time with myself. Free from any expectations, hopes, resentment, and excitement. It’s a zone for me when I feel content and realize at least for those 15 to 20 minutes that life is good as it is.

 

Your “Me time” shouldn’t be overcomplicated. We always make time for things we think are important. So, make yourself a priority. You deserve it.