What I Really Mean When I Need “Me-Time”


by Hayley Doyle


We all need Me-Time.

Guilt, guilt, guilt

Me-Time is important.

Guilt, guilt, guilt

It helps to connect our mind, body and soul.

Guilt, guilt, guilt

Anybody else guilty of all this guilt, guilt, guilt…?


Join the club. No matter how much we educate ourselves on the power of taking time out for ourselves, no matter how many reels we scroll through promoting self-care, and no matter how many influencers we follow, on the verge of allowing them to genuinely influence us, we still push Me-Time aside for Everybody/Everything-Else-Time.

And it’s because it feels a bit icky, doesn’t it? A bit vague. A bit… self-indulgent. There’s always this compelling need to explain yourself. That you’ve been under the weather. Run down. That you’re exhausted for reasons x, y or z. When really, the more stressed and burnt out you feel, the more you want to hide alone in a small dark room taking deep breaths. That is not my idea of Me-Time. In fact, it’s the worst example of Me-Time. That is rock bottom. And nobody deserves to end up there, do they?

To my delight, this morning, I felt rather productive. I managed to get a lot done. Bits and bobs, you know, a few outstanding chores. I was able to work alongside it all and not spiral into a state of panic. This exact series of events can be so hit and miss in regards to how it makes me feel. Some days, I have less to do, yet feel the weight of the world. Others, I tick off lists like I’m going for gold. Anyway, whilst I was multitasking (at the kitchen sink, to give you a clearer picture), that old saying appeared in my head and I muttered aloud, ‘A woman’s work is never done…’

Now, everybody - women and men alike - need Me-Time. But the proverb about a woman's work never being done refers to women often working longer hours than men because household chores, life admin and raising children are never-ending jobs. The origin of the saying comes from an old rhyming couplet; Man may work from sun to sun, But woman's work is never done. I mean, these sayings exist for a reason. You won’t find many people who’ll disagree with this proverb, right?

So when I want Me-Time, what I really mean is… I want to be done. All done. I want the deadlines met. The school forms completed. The fridge full. The clothes hung up and the washing machine empty. I don’t want to have to do anything, even the pamper stuff, like paint my nails, moisturise, pluck a hair! I just don’t want to. I want all that to be done before I enjoy Me-Time. Even if done means just for a moment. Done… for now.

Online, you can stumble upon many uplifting articles giving you tips on how to enjoy your well-deserved Me-Time. But a lot of these suggestions include things that still need to be done. For example, washing and drying my hair is not relaxing or unwinding. It’s a time-consuming chore that I dread having to do twice a week (my hair is very, very thick…). Sure, once it’s DONE, I can relax. But not before. Fully immersing myself into a period of time, just for me, should require nothing to be done that needs to done. And no, I don’t mean sinking into a chair and zoning out in silence. However. If that’s what I fancy doing with Me-Time, fine.

Artist and author Tess Guinery, writes about what she calls, “Alone Time” in her book The Apricot Diaries;

“…Suddenly, I’ll move every plant to the tiles in the sunroom, just to water them. The plants will make like a jungle at the front door because there was that book I once read, explaining the cycle of butterflies, so I’ll rummage around for it, but in my hunt, I’ll find old photos - sleeping in nostalgia for what feels like ten minutes. And then it’s dusk…”


So.


What do I really mean when I say, I need Me-Time?

I mean that, I want to open my sock drawer, and rather than get frustrated at the amount of non-sock items crammed in there, have the time to sort it out, all at my own pace. I want to find that body butter, the one I know is in there somewhere, and test it out on my forearm. I want to sniff it. I want to sip my tea, small sips that slowly become longer as the tea cools. I want to make peanut butter on toast and cut off the crusts and eat it whilst watching an old episode of Grey’s Anatomy and not having to hit pause because I’m being constantly interrupted. I want to lie on my bed, awake, during the daytime, and think about the next step in my career. Like, really, really think about it. I want to watch an old Shirley Temple movie. Or a Judy Garland movie. Or both. Preferably black and white movies, which might transport me into a headspace where I’m highly unlikely to reach for my phone. I want to pick off the nail varnish from not one, not two, but all ten fingers in one sitting. I want to watch reels of Friends and Schitt’s Creek and Modern Family clips. I want to go into a shop, any shop, whether it’s a massive supermarket or the local newsagent, and simply browse. And talking of browsing, all those gorgeous coffee table books that I’ve kindly received for birthdays and Christmas, or bought with a bold intention to read and be inspired by, I want to pick one up. Or two. And flick, read, admire, flick some more. I want the chance to be inspired. By doing, nothing. But everything.


And honestly.

Honestly?

I just want a lie-in.

And then I’ll happily return to Normal-Time. For most of the time.