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Switch Off by Angela Lockwood

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Chapter 13 Your time

The busier we become, the more we try to cram into our days and the less time we seem to have for ourselves. Too often we place our needs last, so when we finally collapse into bed we can only stare at the ceiling and long for some time on our own.

‘I wish I had more time to myself' is a common lament. We conjure up images of freedom from the many demands on our time, spending hours at a spa or losing track of time while surfing the waves. Such imagining triggers a feeling of relaxation but is also freighted with guilt. The thought of taking time out for ourselves to be on our own and do whatever we choose is usually accompanied by a feeling that we are being selfish and worries about what it might mean for the family or for colleagues. So we put it off, discounting the possible benefits to ourselves or dismissing it as all too hard. Sadly, any request for me time tends to be viewed as evidence that we are not coping, and we don't like to be seen as not coping.

Carve out guilt-free me time

We usually take time out only when we really need to switch off, and when this happens we are often overtired, sick and in need of recuperation. Me time is complicated by negative associations with escapism, guilt and regret as well as overwhelm, stress and fatigue. All these negative connotations mean we tend to steer clear of it. Well, I am about to change your perception of the importance of me time, to persuade you that you should view it as vital for your health ...

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