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For busy women, ‘me time’ recharges the body and spirit
Forget about candy and flowers for that special woman in your life. The best Valentine’s Day gift is “me time.”
The stress and pressures of managing a family, career, relationships and households can overwhelm even the most skilled multi-taskers. Women tend to place the needs and demands of loved ones — husbands, children, parents — above their own priorities.
In addition, women often feel guilty for taking time to recharge and improve themselves.
However, a little “me time” is the key to strengthening women’s spirits and overall health. Long-term stress takes a toll on mental and physical health, leading to ailments such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, obesity through “emotional eating” and menstrual problems. Multiple news reports also cite the health benefits of relaxation and stress reduction.
That’s where “me time” can help. Many women schedule that window of time early in the morning while their husbands and children are still sleeping.
For example, at Victory Get Fit Club in Federal Way, the most popular workout session starts just after 5 a.m. The small gym caters to women of all ages with more of a community atmosphere, as opposed to the intimidating presence of a corporate fitness facility that’s packed with equipment. Women write their goals on a chalkboard wall, holding each other accountable with pledges to drink more water, stick to a meal plan, or get more sleep.
“It makes people feel special and noticed,” said co-owner Clem Lafrades, herself a mother who wants to foster a sense of community and build relationships through the gym. “Fitness trends come and go. We stick to what works for you.”
Every Friday, Lafredes asks her female clients what they are proud of about themselves. She is surprised at how they struggle to answer the question, which stems from the women being accustomed to putting other people’s needs ahead of their own.
“To build self-confidence,” she said, “you need to be proud of yourself.”
Mia Redrick, author of “Time for Mom-Me: 365 Daily Strategies for A Mother’s Self-care,” wrote in the Huffington Post that “when you are happier, you are a better parent.” Redrick urges mothers to make “me time” a daily ritual by finding personal escapes such as a gym workout or reading a book.
“Self-care is an important part of motherhood,” Redrick wrote. “Your children benefit directly from your personal growth. Growing your life allows you to share more of you with your children.”
'Me time' suggestions
Here are a few suggestions for “me time,” whether you have five minutes or one hour, according to Webmd.com:
• Get a manicure, pedicure or a massage
• Take a nap
• Take a brisk walk at a park or around the block, or plan a long walk with a friend
• Find a class you want to take, just for fun
• Soak in the bathtub
• Keep a book, magazine or crossword puzzle nearby for short escapes
• Focus on petting your cat or dog for five uninterrupted minutes
• Just sit on the porch with a cup of coffee and watch the clouds go by — and leave the phone/calendar inside