Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Me­gan Mc­Grath

Mak­ing sure you take care of your­self.

We all need ‘me time’ no mat­ter how busy we are. In fact, the busier we are, the more con­scious we need to be about the space we are cre­at­ing for our­selves. We lead full-on, busy lives and the one thing we never seem to have, is time for our­selves. Find­ing as lit­tle as 10-20 min­utes a day of un­in­ter­rupted ‘me time’ can seem like an im­pos­si­ble task.

Our lives are so over sched­uled that some­times life can feel like one long to-do list. Let’s face it, once you’ve raced off to work, dropped kids to child­care, sport or mu­sic, then made a meal and ev­ery­thing else that goes along with run­ning a house, there doesn’t seem to be much time left over for any­thing else - least of all you! Lack of time for our­selves of­ten leads to feel­ing tired, frus­trated, over­whelmed and off bal­ance.

When we take time for our­selves to do the things that we en­joy, re­lax or even do noth­ing at all, we end up hap­pier, health­ier and feel­ing much bet­ter. Tak­ing time for our­selves al­lows us to re­new, heal and cre­ate re­serves of en­ergy and peace. So, it’s about time that we do not feel guilty about tak­ing some time out. We need to be a bit kin­der to our­selves for the sake of our san­ity.

Whilst wear­ing the many hats of mother, wife, daugh­ter, aunt, sis­ter, coach, col­league and friend, I have learnt that I must value my own needs. This for me may take the form of med­i­ta­tion, a run or a re­lax­ing bath. By


prac­tis­ing this self-care as a rit­ual in my day, it en­sures that I have what is re­quired to give my best to the peo­ple in my life.

What is ‘me time’?

‘Me time’ is NOT do­ing chores or clear­ing emails! It means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple. It could be read­ing a book, hav­ing a cup of tea in the sun­shine, a din­ner out with friends, try­ing a new recipe, an ex­er­cise class, a walk, a mas­sage or even some quiet, still breath­ing - any­thing that makes you feel good and that you en­joy.

Pri­ori­tise your­self.

If you are used to putting oth­ers first it’s hard to pri­ori­tise your­self and not feel guilty about it. Con­sider an aero­plane when we are told to put on our oxy­gen masks first be­fore at­tend­ing to oth­ers. The idea clashes with our in­stincts. What does it re­ally mean? Sim­ply put: If you don’t put your mask on first, you won’t be there for all those other peo­ple, when they need you. You will be un­con­scious.

The same ap­plies to us. Our nat­u­ral ten­dency is to do first for oth­ers, be­cause we are car­ing, lov­ing, nur­tur­ing, re­spon­si­ble, sup­port­ive and com­pe­tent peo­ple. How­ever, just like the oxy­gen mask, we need to take care of our­selves, so we can ef­fec­tively take care of the peo­ple we love.

‘Me time’ is good for you.

Tak­ing some ‘me time’ is vi­tal in pro­tect­ing our phys­i­cal, men­tal and emo­tional health.

Tak­ing a lit­tle time re­freshes and reen­er­gizes you. It al­lows you to think more clearly and make bet­ter de­ci­sions. Other ben­e­fits can in­clude sleep­ing bet­ter and re­duced ir­ri­tabil­ity, anx­i­ety, fa­tigue, stress and sick­ness. And when you do this, you come back to your re­spon­si­bil­i­ties with greater fo­cus, com­mit­ment and en­joy­ment.

How to make ‘me-time’ hap­pen.

It can be quite a chal­lenge to find time for your­self. Un­less you plan it - ‘me time’ can eas­ily fall off the to-do list.

Com­mit­ment to self. Over­com­ing the feel­ing that ‘me time’ is self­ish and that in fact it’s a nec­es­sary di­men­sion of self­care is the first step. When you are tired, stressed and pulled in too many di­rec­tions, it is im­pos­si­ble to give your best to all that you must ac­com­plish.

Pri­ori­tise your time. Do you check your emails con­stantly? An­swer per­sonal calls in the mid­dle of a work-day? Spend time mind­lessly scrolling through so­cial me­dia? Does this waste your time? If this sounds like you, per­haps it’s time to pri­ori­tise your re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and gain more time that way.

Learn to say ‘No’. Prac­tice makes per­fect but it is okay to say no to things that you don’t re­ally want to do, need to do and don’t value.

Plan for it. Un­less you plan for it, in your very busy, over com­mit­ted life, it is likely to fall of the ‘to do’ list. Be pro-ac­tive about

fit­ting it in. Sched­ule the ac­tiv­ity, just as you would an ap­point­ment or a meet­ing.

• Com­mit to a min­i­mum of 10 – 20 min­utes a day. Do some­thing that you en­joy or maybe do noth­ing and that al­lows you to let go of re­spon­si­bil­ity.

• Cre­ate a daily rit­ual. This might be a bath, go­ing for an evening walk, get­ting up early to med­i­tate or have a quiet cup of tea alone. Build it into your day and make it some­thing you look for­ward to.

No mat­ter what ‘me time’ means for you, it shouldn’t be at the bot­tom of your to-do list. Cre­at­ing room for down time is some­thing we should all be do­ing to stay healthy and happy. Ex­er­cise, nu­tri­tious food and plenty of sleep are vi­tal for good health, but ‘me-time’ is another es­sen­tial el­e­ment in your day.

Me­gan Mc­Grath is pas­sion­ate about sup­port­ing and em­pow­er­ing women to­wards achiev­ing healthy, bal­anced and ful­fill­ing lives. Me­gan has a Health Science de­gree, is a pro­fes­sional ac­cred­ited Well­ness Coach, a cer­ti­fied Fit­ness Trainer and Founder of Chas­ing Sun­rise – a Health and Well­ness Con­sul­tancy.

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