My sister recently asked me, if I was feeling bored or lonely (since my husband was travelling and the kids were busy with their work). I told her she must be kidding and that I am loving my me-time. While engaging with friends, family, and colleagues, we often feel that we never get a moment of peace since we are constantly surrounded by people who demand our time and attention.
The demands of life can be overwhelming. To add to this, our constantly being online keeps us mentally engaged (and exhausted too). While we have to focus on our jobs, look after the family, or interact in social groups, we must try and avoid getting mentally exhausted. In order to do that, we need to keep time for ourselves.
Some people think me-time is a new concept coined by a modern person (a woman). This is not true. In old movies, an actress would be shown singing, painting or simply decorating her home. She would be doing something she wanted to do and at her pace, often humming along, with no one breathing down her neck. That was her me-time. Nothing fancy or elaborate (like Cleopatra’s bath).
We need to recharge our minds, just like our mobile phone batteries We need to tune and refine our minds to prevent deterioration. During me-time, it’s not necessary to be productive. The idea is to simply take a break from daily tasks and having some time alone to enjoy. While some people like to watch TV, others lie down and surf social media, watching 30-second Insta reels. Some like to read, sing, dance, or do something that makes them happy.
We must understand that we cannot work at our optimum 24/7. We need, to rest, recharge and reboot. It is not healthy to sacrifice mental health by prioritising other tasks. So, if you think that me-time is a luxury you can’t afford, you will see your efficiency and productivity slipping away. The demands of modern life can blur our capability of thinking about the solution to our problems. We tend to ignore many of our important needs and wants in order to complete our daily tasks, which leads to a lack of concentration. Having some time alone can help a person let thoughts in and provide a way out for a better perspective of oneself.
Being overly involved in relationships can lead to people taking advantage of you and your time. It is important for each individual to value themselves first so that others can value them. Here, me-time can help us stay fresh, energetic, and healthy. It improves our self-worth which boosts our ability to understand others better. It helps unburden our minds and gives us a positive outlook. Feeling happy and positive is a major step towards good mental health. This can be done by spending time with yourself, taking out time to have fun, relaxing, or doing something only for yourself. Thinking and reflections are done when you are alone. Without them, there will be less creativity or self-awareness. And that’s why a small break can be as helpful as a cup of coffee. And of course, you can have both.
When we take time to understand ourselves, we get to know about our choices and capabilities. This can help us to learn how to say “no” to tasks that are not meant for us. The quality of personal time is more important than its quantity. Even if we enjoy a minute or two, it should be fulfilling. Time thus spent must be valuable and must not give one a feeling of guilt. So prioritise me-time for happiness and stable mental health. And how you enjoy your alone time doesn’t have to make sense to others. As long as you feel more energetic and refreshed after it, it has served its purpose.
It is ironic that we say rest in peace when a person is no more. Life is so precious can we not take a few moments to live in peace and enjoy some moments of me-time. After all, it's my time on the planet, it's my clock that’s ticking, so excuse me, I don’t need any permission, to enjoy some me-time. The dusting can wait, until I have heard my favourite songs and painted my nails, with a smile on my face. To hell with the mess, I don’t need the stress.
— Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is an independent legal consultant based in Dubai
Is it unethical? Sure, it is — unless you believe in transparency and inform both parties about the matter and they give you the go-ahead (which is unlikely in most cases)
If the affluent among us contribute directly to society by buying bread for the poor, it will build direct access to the needy, cutting all bureaucratic tapes