I know you’ve heard a lot about me-time in recent years, but I want to talk about it today. I want to talk about it in reference to something I recently realized in my own life: my me time does not simply mean a couple of hours to myself. I need more.
When I was traveling for work, a couple of hours a day was all I needed. Well, that and a weekend day once in a while that had zero plans. But since I hadn’t traveled for work in a year and neither of us were taking our own small trips, I didn’t realize what made those couple of hours be enough.
A few weeks ago, I hit a breaking point with Eddie. I was so frustrated and annoyed with him for no reason. I couldn’t pinpoint one specific reason that I hit this point with him. Then I started longing for the days when I traveled and the hotel rooms all to myself. And I realized what was going on. I was overstimulated and didn’t feel like I could get space. This had happened once before, and it was a couple of months into the lockdown in 2020. I attributed my frustration back then to Eddie being slightly depressed because he is such an extrovert who was suddenly locked in his home with only one person who could only handle so much of his pestering. The way we came out of that was Eddie going to his cousin and best friend’s and leaving me home alone. It was refreshing, and I was able to recharge my batteries.
Well, as of writing this, we only started spending time with our best friends again, so Eddie hasn’t spent much time away from the house, and I didn’t go spend any days shopping or exploring on my own. So I hit overstimulated again. I felt it with work and just spending time with Eddie. I couldn’t focus on the tasks I needed to get done, and I was overly annoyed with pretty much everything Eddie would do. Something had to give.
I decided I needed to get out and spend some time on my own. I set a goal to get to a specific lake to take sunrise photos and that I would spend pretty much all day away from the house. I even decided that if I made it to the stores close to the opening time when it is typically less busy, I could go shopping. I didn’t make it to the lake because the road was closed, but I made it to a new-to-me spot and spent time in the snow taking photos. I laughed at myself every time I sunk up to my knee in the snow and just hung out. I enjoyed the sunrise colors. On my way back down the mountain, I stopped a couple of times to get photos at places I’d always loved the view. I took my time.
Then I came home and showered and got ready and went shopping. I decided to get ready instead of half-assing my appearance because I know I feel better when I feel good in what I’m wearing. I slowly walked around the stores and enjoyed my time alone. There were hardly any people so it wasn’t a concern for me. I spent a couple of hours shopping and didn’t even buy anything until the last two stores. It was retail therapy of the best kind.
I learned that while the morning me-time is something that I so desperately need each day, I need at least a day with nobody that I know. Even having Eddie working in the garage or on the basement isn’t enough. I talked with Eddie about it, and we are pretty sure that the reason I love traveling for work so much is that I get time to feel like I have my own space with being on my own at the hotel. While I work more and interact with more people when I travel, I get time to go back to the hotel and feel like I have nobody else to be around. I came to this conclusion because I started to long for a getaway, and all I pictured was a hotel room by myself.
So while I am not traveling frequently for work just yet, I need to find ways to get this prolonged me-time more regularly. I plan to try to get at least one weekend day a month away from the house doing my own thing or at least one weekend day with Eddie being gone with the guys. To be able to take care of me and what I need as an introvert, I need to be more proactive in making sure I get time away from Eddie and anybody else I know. This is one of those situations where the saying “it’s not you, it’s me” is as honest as it gets. Thankfully Eddie understands and recognizes what this kind of time does for me.
As you are reading this, I am in North Carolina right now for a month for work. Eddie was out here the first two weeks and is flying back to help me drive home. I have one weekend to myself, and I’m excited about it. What am I going to do? I have no idea. One of my best friends volunteered to come to spend a weekend with me because she loves North Carolina, but I declined because I want to take this time to recharge. Since I realized that I need more serious me-time, I am going to use this weekend to my benefit.
So as you hear so many life coaches and influencers talk about me-time, take what you need and leave the rest. Me-time is going to be different for each of us. Some of you might only need an hour or so alone, and some might need days upon days alone. Some of you might not need to be alone, and instead, you need away from your house and spouse or kids to be with friends. We are all different, and what works for me probably won’t work for you. If it takes you a few iterations to figure out what is the best me-time solution for you, then do what you gotta do. I really don’t think there is a one size fits all solution. You do you for you!