Me Time

 In Uncategorized

People often struggle to find time to exercise, or maybe they feel an aversion to exercising.  It can easily become one more task on an endless to-do list that never quite becomes the top priority.


You know what else some people struggle to make time for?


Me time.


What is me time?  


It could be defined as time that you spend with yourself to care for yourself, take a stress break, nurture your mental health or perhaps engage in self-expression.  You might think of something like taking a hot bath, or painting.


It was only in the past decade that I discovered what me time really feels like for myself.


I’ve spent plenty of time doing restful or pleasant things.  I like to work in the garden, write and read both for learning and entertainment.  But gardening is rather a lot of work. Writing is closer to me-time, as I work on expressing my thoughts, but I get tired of the computer and the mental effort.  Learning and being entertained are both time spent with someone else’s ideas.


It wasn’t until I started meditating that I glimpsed what it means to spend time with myself for my own benefit*, in a way that nourished me, without thinking about whether I was getting something done.  After the initial bit of chafing about needing to get up and do something useful, I found it pleasant and restful to observe myself and my responses.


Then I discovered fitness training.


It was difficult at first, I had the usual resistance to the state change of elevating one’s heart rate, getting heated up and breathing hard.  But the body gets used to that eventually and no longer finds it threatening.  


I soldiered on with starting warm up after warm up, without thinking about what would come next.  I also savored the deep feeling of success for having shown up that day.


Eventually I started to notice that it was a joy to explore my own movement.  To relish seeing what I could do that I used to not be able to do.  To be curious about where my ability to move stopped, and see if I could gradually change that. To start to play movement games with myself, like seeing how many different ways I could get up from the ground, or how many movements I could string together before I’d get stuck and have to go back.  To experiment with more complex or heavier versions of exercises.  I liked finding my edge.  I liked witnessing my physical and emotional responses to challenge, failure and success.


It was and is time that I spend exploring myself, relieving stress, focusing on the present moment, becoming stronger and more sound, nourishing myself, engaging in self-expression and not worrying about getting something done. 


Physical training, much like meditation, loses something when it becomes a means to an end.  Thinking of a distant goal can turn it into a boring series of repetitive movements.  If you notice that your exercises are getting boring, it might be time to add a layer until it gets your attention again.  


Discovering that the session itself contains treasures helps you enjoy it more.  And that enjoyment can give us the extra motivation we need to be able to show up consistently.


One’s physical training could be the best, most engaging me-time you ever have.  After all, in a world where we’re sitting most of the time, is more resting really a treat?


*This idea that the time spent meditating or fitness training is for oneself is an interesting one.  Taking care of your mental and physical health and becoming a stronger, more sound person most definitely benefits more than just you.



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