Life is busy and moving faster every day. It’s not a surprise that we don’t give ourselves the gift of time. With work, family, errands, house maintenance, friends, commitments of all kinds, when are we supposed to fit in some “me time,” a self-care hour or two.
We women often (always?) feel the responsibility of keeping forward momentum in our personal and work lives. It’s ingrained in us as nurturers to put others’ needs and wants before our own.
Have you yet come to the realization that self-care, the “me time” that we often feel is frivolous, is actually necessary? It’s important not only to our own well being – our mental, physical, and emotional health – but it’s also an important factor in the good health of our relationships. Those kitchy sayings that poke fun at the premise that everyone is happy if “mama” is happy, are actually true.
How do you like to spend time when you have a “me day” or a little time for self care?
Some ways that might resonate with you:
- Find a quiet place to read.
- Create a spa experience for yourself at home – give yourself a facial or put a conditioning mask on your hair.
- Lose yourself in your favorite TV series or movie.
- Take a blanket to a nearby park and relax.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle.
- Take a yoga class.
- Do some feel-good stretching.
- Take yourself out for lunch or dinner – solo or with a friend.
- Get a massage.
- Make a picnic and take it to a beautiful place to enjoy.
- Go to the beach.
- Listen to live music.
- Visit a museum or exhibit.
- Create! Paint, write, cook, sew.
- Spend time in your garden.
The possibilities are limitless!
If you’re not sure what would be your favorite me-day experience, take some time to think about what types of things you enjoy, what helps you de-stress, lets you forget about your to-do list. Then make a list so it’s handy when you do find yourself with a bit of time for you.
Realizing that my life (and likely yours) is full of to-do lists – what I need to do tomorrow, who I feel accountable to, what happened yesterday and how it impacted today or the next day – I decided it was about time to give myself a “me day” this past week.
Tuesday was the day.
But what to do, where to go? What experience did I want to have – shopping? lunch out? massage? I could NOT decide. Rather than throw in the towel and postpone my day, I said (to myself), “I’m going to get in the car and start driving. I had no destination in mind.
Driving out of my neighborhood, I remembered the incredibly beautiful drive on the way to Bodega Bay in Sonoma County, a 35 minute drive for me. So that’s where I headed, without knowing exactly what I would do. And I felt completely fine with that. I’d cleared the day of any commitments, my husband was out of town, and I felt no pressure to make a decision.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to drive west between Petaluma and Bodega Bay in Sonoma County, northern California, you’ll immediately understand why I chose it. The landscape is stunning. Really. It’s one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever experienced.
Setting out, I realized the importance of being present for my experience – no thinking about my to-do list, no making mental notes about who I needed to call, no checking my calendar for what was on my schedule tomorrow. I needed to be here now. Otherwise, what would be the point of making that drive with the intention of a “me day”? I’d driven this route many times before while conversing with a companion along the way and not really soaking in the serenity and beauty.
Right off the bat, I found myself behind a large truck carrying construction material on a two-lane highway.
Hallelujah! I was grateful for the need to slow down to 30 miles an hour, giving me the gift of traveling slow enough to really take in all that was surrounding me.
The scenery is stunning, as I’ve already said, emphasis on stunning. This is rural Sonoma County. There are miles and miles of rolling hills, still green but less than they were three months ago.
The landscape was soft and inviting. Mesmerizing.
I passed many small family dairies as I drove – a Petaluma signature and the genesis of the Clover dairy brand (if you know, you know). The fields and hills were dotted with dairy cows, sometimes curiously watching the parade of passing cars but mostly munching away.
In some places, trellised vineyards were the neighbors (it is Sonoma County after all!)
Barns bordered the highway, some leaning with collapsing roofs, others upright and strong, attentive to their job. Grazing sheep and lambs appeared in pastures as well as beautiful, majestic horses.
I was surprised to pass a farm where two men manually tilled the soil between some type of row crops – it seemed a throwback to a simpler time.
As I drove, I focused on staying in the moment, appreciating the beauty and nature and grateful for the opportunity to be in that place.
Sometimes my mind drifted as I saw something that reminded me of someone or brought to mind an undone task. But my focus and commitment was on being in the moment, and I was able to bring myself back to the present.
As I got closer to the coast, the lush landscape, soft and almost delicate, became scrappy and a little prickly, revealing the reality of being part of the northern California coast. Weather can be a little harsh – damp, windy, and cold. The topography told the story. And it was beautiful in its own way.
My destination turned out to be Doran Beach, a Sonoma County regional park with an expanse of beach that faces the Pacific Ocean on one side and Bodega Bay on the other.
It was perfect! On a Tuesday afternoon, the typically crowded beach was sparsely populated, and I truly felt like the time belonged to me.
That’s a long intro to the concept of “Me Time”!
A little glimpse of the beautiful beach on my Me Day.
(Filmed in portrait format with social media in mind – not the best way to show it here, but it’s all I got!)
Note: I stayed true to my commitment to stay present during my day. That extended to NOT stopping along the way to photograph the scenery. Which means I have few photos to share with you of the beautiful views along my route. The imagery that accompanies this post includes several stock photos. Be assured that I searched to find images that truly replicate the beauty I experienced that day. They are so like the landscape I saw, that I could have taken the photos. I hope you don’t mind. I always want to be transparent, hence this explanation.