Finding your ‘Me Time’ at home
For those of us spending lockdown with family or housemates, it’s important to remember just how lucky you really are. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t all need some time to ourselves every now and then. It’s nothing to feel guilty about - even the tightest of families can benefit from a little time apart, not just to make the heart grow fonder but to benefit everyone’s mental wellbeing, too. But finding space for yourself in a full house can be tricky, so below are some useful tips on how to find ‘Me Time’, when it might seem impossible.
A nice cuppa
Nothing revolutionary here. It’s been a source of comfort for Brits, whether alone or together, for centuries. But rather than just thinking of it as something you have whilst doing something else, make sure to carve out 5-10 minutes to escape into a proper cup of tea and do nothing else. The simple ceremony of making a cup just how you like it, waiting for it to cool, the comforting sensation of a warm mug in your hands… all has built-in relaxation. And if you happen to have a special ‘Do Not Disturb’ mug, all the better!
Soak it up
Like tea, a bath is another ideal sanctuary that needs little more than some hot water and some patience. Once the kids are firmly tucked up in bed (or at least otherwise preoccupied), there are few better ways to shut out the world than to light a scented candle - safely, of course - roll out the relaxing music and retreat into a hot bubbly tub to help wash away the cares of the day.
Plug in and tune out
Headphones are vital accessories to block out the world (well, noise) around you. They can transform a seemingly tedious task like ironing, cleaning or mowing the lawn, into an opportunity to transport you to another world entirely - through your choice of music, audiobook or podcast
Find your green fingers
…either figuratively, or literally; depending on whether you have a garden that needs tending to, or whether that olive-coloured shelf in the kitchen needs a fresh lick of paint. If you’re lucky enough to have all the right tools and paints handy (and, crucially, know what you’re doing!) this could be the ideal time to get stuck into some little jobs that have been put off for years. Keep it small, though - the goal here is to relax. Taking on a big project, while satisfying, can carry its own stresses.
Make a date
‘Me Time’ doesn’t have to be singular, just as ‘date night’ doesn’t have to be outside! Consider scheduling some time in with your significant other (or a ‘mate date night’ with housemates!), and do all the things you’d normally do, but indoors. That means no phones or electronic distractions and swapping bars, restaurants and theatres for home-made drinks, home-cooked meals and a live-streamed show! There are plenty of shows now available online, such as the National Theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber, or even the Metropolitan Opera - plus, with the added bonus of loo breaks whenever you decide and no one blocking your view!
Find your inner-Yogi
You don’t need to be an expert to benefit from yoga’s potential to unwind, reset and loosen up your body and mind. Even absolute beginners can get started from home with the hundreds of free courses and professional videos available online. Whether done alone or with others, it somehow manages to stay an invaluable bit of ‘Me Time’.
A new skill
The idea of learning a new language or mastering a new skill might seem like a daunting time commitment, but you could be surprised at the cumulative effect you notice from just a few minutes a day. Apps like DuoLingo, Rosetta Stone and Babbel could be ideal to linguistically equip you for that post-lockdown holiday you’ve been waiting for. And if it’s a new skill you’re after, courses on platforms like Masterclass, Udemy and Teachable are designed to be completed gradually and flexibly.
If you’re looking for productive ways to unwind, baking could be the ideal solution. So long as you’re not in the final of a certain popular TV show, it can be very therapeutic to get your hands stuck in and kneading away - plus you’re rewarded at the end with a delicious treat! Of course, if some ingredients are in understandably short supply, don’t be afraid to improvise with some online help. You’d be surprised what googling ‘no flour baking recipes’ will return.
A family walk is a great way for the whole household to get their daily exercise at the same time; but faced with spending the rest of the day together too, you may prefer a little break on your own. If you’re able to take it in turns with someone at home to watch the kids, a lone walk could be ideal for clearing your head, so you can return refreshed and re-energised for the rest of the day.
Add some colour
In case you missed the memo, colouring-in is officially no longer just for kids! For a few years now, the trend of colouring-in books for adults has grown in popularity; but if you didn’t manage to get yourself one before lockdown, never fear! There are plenty of printable pages available online (justcolor.net and art-is-fun.com to name just two), that can focus the mind on a satisfying single task. And if you want to go outside the lines, that’s up to you!
It doesn’t have to be regular, public, online, or even spelt properly! But spilling your thoughts onto a page can significantly help focus thoughts and release troubles as, by definition, you’re finding time to think. You might choose to share it with others or find it more liberating to keep it to yourself, but either way it’s likely to make for interesting reading in years to come.
Sometimes the best place to escape from distractions is simply your own head. With the help of apps like Headspace, Calm and Buddhify, even a small amount of time a day can make a huge difference to your wellbeing. And if meditation’s not quite your thing, sometimes all it takes is to breathe deeply a good 10 times (in through the nose, out through the mouth), just to break up one moment from the next and help you bring some renewed energy to that next task on your ‘To Do’ list - or even making that list in the first place!
We do hope you’re staying physically and mentally well through all of this, and that some (or all) of the above may help you to find some calm. And who knows? Maybe when it’s all over, some might prove invaluable enough to keep in place post-lockdown?