Work, family, continuing or professional education, housekeeping, grocery shopping, social obligations, bureaucracy… they’re all necessary parts of life. Reality is time-consuming. Things need to happen. Tasks and people need to be taken care of and stuff need to get done. And yes, even today, over a decade into the 21st century, the bulk of these responsibilities are still falling to women. On top of all that, for those with any medical condition, uterine fibroids included, staying on top of health care is another inescapable, time consuming entry on that list.
Our days are full – overwhelming, even – and subsequently, what’s falling through the cracks is US. Ourselves, that “me” within each of us is getting lost. It is scarily easy to neglect ourselves.
How to find that time and what to do with it are issues to be solved and decided on an individual basis, each according to her own circumstances and tastes. However, the “Why is this necessary… I have so many other things to do!” question is a constant for all of us. Here’s why taking quiet time out for yourself isn’t optional. It’s an absolute necessity.
Keeping in touch with your own identity
Even if you don’t currently have time to yourself, you will eventually be less busy. Your children will grow up, your work hours will stabilize. Your obligations will become less… obligatory. You will need to develop a relationship with yourself. If not for now, for then.
Building your own self-esteem
Be it artsy-craftsy stuff, reading the greatest classics or training for a 5K, you need to have something to call your own. While this is indeed part of building and maintaining your own identity, it’s even more than that. Having something of your own to be proud of is a human necessity. It fights burnout and, in turn, will give your children the memory that Mom is a person who is happy and proud. It will also help them to do the same for themselves in the future.
Protecting your psychological health
A 2012 study found that people comfortable with being alone had lower rates of depression, fewer physical ailments and better overall satisfaction with life. What’s more, the American Psychological Association released a statement documenting that women currently have significantly more stress in their lives than men, linked to an inverse relationship to the amount of free time in their lives. It seems not just a hunch that men having more free time may lead to less stress in their lives.
Stress is dangerous. Just as we need to make sure our environment is free of dangerous germs, rusty nails and predators, Scientific American cites studies showing that higher levels of stress lower our immunity system’s effectiveness and can cause heart disease, osteoporosis, autoimmune disorders and invite plethora of other unwanted visitors.
Increasing your own productivity
If you’re like most of us, the vast portion of your day is spent surrounded by other people, pulling your attention in multiple directions at the same time. Everybody needs a piece of you … and getting anything fully done may seem near impossible. Having some uninterrupted time allows your brain to catch up with your never-ending to-do list. In the quiet, you’ll feel the proverbial lightbulb sparking on numerous times, filling in an odd array of leftover “blanks” you’ve left over the past days or weeks. The point where brain thoughts finally come together and the holes are filled in, kind of like a mental Tetris, is truly invigorating.
With all we stand to gain, maybe “me time” should be renamed “I’m benefiting the universe time”. To our readers living with symptoms of fibroids – take heed. Your energies may be sapped, but there’s hope for renewal. You owe yourself the physical and psychological benefits of time to and for yourself.