Savor Solo Time
How to take an entire day and make it yours
Sometimes the concept of "alone" time seems like just that - a
concept. In any given day, your job title could be therapist, chef,
financial planner and teacher. Between obligations as a parent,
employee, friend and daughter, your valuable time is spent helping
others. And while you gain gratification from each of your
important roles, your first priority should be you.
"Taking 'me' time is so important for your emotional and
physical health and overall sense of well-being," says Susan Biali,
M.D., wellness expert and author of Live a Life You
Love. "If you take time for yourself, you can help other
people in your life even better."
Your challenge: Next month, schedule a day (or even a few hours)
just for you. We've already mapped out a "me" day, so simply follow
Wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual and take that time to
reflect in a journal. "As adult obligations pile up, we tend to
lose sense of our passions," Dr. Biali says. "It is helpful to look
back on a time in your life when you had more personal time. Then
ask yourself, 'What small ways can I begin to reclaim those things
in my life today?' "
Head outdoors for a 30- to 60-minute walk somewhere you find
particularly beautiful. "As you walk, you get insights about life
and stay in shape," Dr. Biali says.
While replenishing your mind, you're also doing your body a big
favor. Daily walking helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol,
minimize symptoms of depression and anxiety, prevent or delay
osteoporosis, and reduce symptoms of arthritis.
If possible, spend lunchtime outdoors, where you can reflect
while you eat a delicious, healthy meal. Prepare a fresh,
nourishing salad with unexpected fruits, such as mangoes or
"Treat yourself with something you can look forward to
throughout the day," Dr. Biali says. Whether it's a Swedish massage, watching
your favorite chick-flick or reading a romance novel, it should
Try scheduling a massage to help relax both mind and body. As
you release aches and soothe sore muscles, you will feel restored
Inspiration time. Now that you are rested and restored, why not
tap that clarity of thought and relaxation to dream, think big and
envision moving forward on a creative project? And in case you find
yourself lulling into a nap, close your eyes and dream. A soothing
cup of tea eases you from dream state to radiant.
Put on your dancing shoes! Play your favorite music and clear
out the furniture in the living room. "Dancing has both physical
and mental health benefits," says Dr. Biali. "It's liberating and
energizing and does wonders for strengthening and toning the
Before bedtime, completely unplug (if you haven't already).
Choose a book to read, pick up your knitting needles or sketch in a
drawing pad. Find a way to focus on something you enjoy as you wind
down your special day.
While you may not always be able to take an entire day for
yourself, you can begin to grab pockets of time throughout the day
to reap the same benefits. "Make it a daily habit to take some 'me'
time," Dr. Biali says.
- By Julie Wlodychak