Plan me time this ssummer

It’s summertime, and the living should be easy. Before summer flies by, we encourage you to stop, breathe and take the time to nurture yourself. It can be all too easy to forget.

It’s summertime, and the living should be easy. Before summer flies by, we encourage you to stop, breathe and take the time to nurture yourself. It can be all too easy to forget.

Work doesn’t stop just because it’s summer.

And if you’ve got children, irregular schedules and the need for constant carpooling can be extra stressful. If you’re taking a vacation this summer, that’s fantastic, but it’s not necessarily the same thing as finding “me” time.

Alicia on “The importance of ’Me’ Time”

If you find taking “me” time to be difficult, or even impossible, it’s important to ask yourself why. Do you feel guilty, or believe it’s selfish?

Many women we have spoken with fear that they’re self-absorbed or letting others down if they switch off and take “me” time. Many men we have spoken with fear that they’ll be perceived as slackers at work and that taking “me” time will affect their job performance negatively.

In fact, taking care of yourself is neither selfish nor will it negatively impact your work. When you take care of yourself, you become calmer, more patient and happier. You also become more productive.

Sarah on “Breaking It Down”

If you can’t imagine how you’d ever fit “you” time into your busy schedule, you need to break out your calendar and schedule it.

If you don’t make the time for yourself, someone else, or some other “fire drill,” will swoop in and take up the time. Think about what would recharge your batteries the most: full days off, or little windows of “me” time sprinkled here and there.

If the former, schedule three personal days before Labor Day. If the latter, schedule at least 60 minutes a week of uninterrupted “you” time between now and Labour Day.

Be sure to cordon off the time you select. Book your personal days immediately with your supervisor; if you have children, hire a baby sitter to cover for you in those windows; and let friends and family know of your “off” times so they’ll know not to try to contact you during those times.

Here are some more ideas:

1. Make an Evening Stroll Part of Your Summer Routine — A walk is a wonderful way to unplug and refresh. Since days are longer in the summer, consider instituting an evening stroll either before or after dinner each night.

It’s something you can do alone or with others. Just be sure to leave your iPod, cellphone and Blackberry at home. Let the sights and sounds of nature soothe your spirit and recharge your batteries.

You’ll be amazed at the benefits of even a 20- or 30-minute stroll around your neighbourhood or in a nearby park.

2. Go On A Silent Retreat — There’s nothing quite like a silent retreat to force you to turn inward and really reflect on your life and priorities.

Cut off from the daily bombardment of news, emails, phone calls and constant demands from others, your mind will gradually settle down and truly rest.

Many religious orders and New Age centers offer silent retreats that last anywhere from a week to a day.

Look online to find one near you.

3. Reconnect with Friends — Research has shown that good friends can keep us healthier longer. In a 10-year longevity study of people 70 and older, researchers at the Center for Aging Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, concluded that a network of good friends is more likely than close family relationships to increase longevity in older people.

If you’ve been too busy to get together with friends, reach out to one or two and schedule a coffee, dinner or simply an afternoon of catching up.

The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized, and co-authors of Everything (almost) In Its Place. Send ideas and questions to For more columns, go to

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