I read an article in the Ladies Home Journal (Oct 2013) while waiting for the dr about the benefits of carving time out for oneself each day. It said that a lot of women feel guilty if they're not doing anything 'useful', and feel selfish if they sit down and read, take time out for a cup of coffee, or even taking a walk.
It went on to say a lot of us have the mindset of if we're not seen with a large group of friends, then we harken back to those pre-teen days of craving acceptance. Yes, it's more fun to go out to eat with a friend or attend the movies. But on the flip side, I don't have anyone nagging at me to hurry up, because I like to watch the credits. Eating is a different matter; if I'm at the coffee shop, I usually either have the laptop or Kindle with me and I don't want to be disturbed (unless, of course, you recognize me and want to gush about my latest 'brilliant' book, lol!)
I've always been a bit of a loner, and yes, growing up I longed to have a broad circle of friends. But that can get stifling at times. I like to curl up with a good book, or dive into the internet, FaceBook, or even my latest wip. And it was a bit daunting, at first, to walk into a bar by myself to sing karaoke. I didn't want anyone to hit on me, and let's face it; I have issues hearing and being heard in a noisy bar, so it's kind of nice to be by myself! But on the other hand, if my friends are chatty, then I sit back and listen as best as I can, and if I can't be heard, well, I carry a pad of paper and pen.
Maybe I'm weird, but one of my favorite things to do is to shoo everyone out of the house for the entire day. I'll clean, sing to my heart's content, and even read, write, or just chat on the internet. And I'm perfectly happy. It's the days when I'm in constant demand from family members which stress me out. I'll sit down to read and I'll hear 'Mo-om!' Or the spouse calling my name. Of course, being the lone reader in a family who would rather watch the History Channel is rough. If I'm working on the computer, I'm 'playing'. If the house is dirty/cluttered, I'm the one who's slacking. Right now, the evening dishes need washed, but I'd rather write this article. I'm also battling bronchitis, and the spouse said he'd help out later.
I try to read a chapter or two of whatever book I have handy before bedtime; it helps me unwind.
I once spoke to an older woman who said she doesn't read because she always finds something to clean. We have five people crammed into a 2 bedroom house; after seven years, I'm used to seeing toys scattered along the edges of the living room and the area with the toy box. A neat freak would have a fit if they saw my house, but it works for us, a controlled chaos. Ask me to find something; I can usually go directly to it, or tell you if it's in storage or downstairs.
Do I feel guilty for taking my 'me' time? No. It helps keep me refreshed. When the kids were little, I used to lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes and read while doing my business. More recently, while working on my NaNo project, the family indulged me and left me alone to write. Thankfully, my next published work is at least a year off, since my daughter now works nights and I'm on full time toddler 'Grandma' duty. I haven't disappeared; my work hours are limited at the moment. And being sick gives me extra time to catch up on my reading and TV watching.
So what about you? Is there anything specific you do each day for YOU? How do you carve that time out for yourself?