Ah! for some 'me time'

Ah! for some 'me time'


Ah! for some 'me time'

Admit it. There are days when every married woman wishes she were still single, footloose and fancy free. Happy as you might be in your little world with husband and kids, sometimes the dreary business of running a household and balancing personal life with the demands of your career begins to take its toll. To zap away the strain on your relationships, take to the plausible recourse of spending a few hours with your girlfriends, at least once a month.

“For me, this night out spells time off from my family. Just for myself, with a bunch of friends I like,” admits entrepreneur Prita Dheer. “The idea is to catch up with each other, unwind through activities that interest us collectively, like a play or even a foot massage.” It is called ‘me time’. Those precious minutes when you can take a deep breath and relax, without ordering groceries on the cell phone and being messaged by colleagues on work alerts. You are with your women friends who understand you, who share the same mental wavelength and connect with the happenings in your life.

Often when people get married, they decide to socialise with couples only. “Once the initial euphoria of hanging out together wears off, the desire to go out with just your own set of friends surfaces. It is a natural, human reaction to want to develop your own space, especially when in a relationship,” explains marriage counsellor Neera Shukla. “The situation undergoes another shift with the arrival of children when the mother is hard pressed for time and finds herself getting swallowed in an unending melee of household chores and related jobs.

This is when the urge to rediscover one’s own self resurfaces.”  That’s the truth. Most of us women are straddling work (worse, work from home), home, family demands and social commitments 365x24x7. Rising early to pack tiffin boxes for kids and spouse, hitting the gym to stay slim and wriggle into our little black dress; making calls on the treadmill, while racing to the car, smsing while brisk walking in the market; zipping off to meetings, putting in gruelling hours at work, ticking at odd (read sleeping) hours and flashing welcoming smiles at guests, expected and unexpected, tucking in tykes at bed time after supervision and serving of meals... All in a day’s work.

Most of us forget that it is human to crave that need to unwind. To relax, breathe easy without feeling guilty and running through the zillion to-do lists in your mind. To take a chill pill, put your feet up and take an hour off. To do whatever you might fancy — from taking a power nap to painting nails to meditating, taking a jog, visiting the salon or simply reading up on Bollywood gossip. The important part is to de-stress, de-compartmentalise from the rigorous routine of parenting and parading everyday. “Forming a group of like minded girlfriends for a girl’s night out once a month was the best thing I could have possibly done for myself,” admits gynaecologist Dr Ashima Malik. “We chat, laugh, drive out together. It is a wonderful, unbeatable social therapy. I enjoy it.”

The stress of meeting deadlines and living up to the expectations of others leaves us with little or no time for ourselves. Slowly the snappiness and short temper sets in, along with dissipating warmth in personal relationships. That makes it all the more important to dwell upon the question: Is it worth it? No, it isn’t. For your own sanity and self worth. Your ‘me time’ makes for an important configuration on your daily agenda. Spending this time with a group of friends makes it even more enjoyable. They are the ones who chip in when you need help the most: babysit when you have nowhere to leave the kids, send over a home-cooked meal when you are unwell, call when you are feeling low and simply stand by you like a bulwark when the chips are down.

As a woman, you need to give yourself the break that you ache for. If you do not value yourself, no one else will. No matter how much they love and respect you. You owe it to yourself, as an educated, intelligent, multi-tasking, gifted human being. Some moments in life are meant to be valued more than others. Your ‘me time’ qualifies amongst these moments.

So the next time you put off having that quick lunch at the local deli with your former schoolmate you hooked up with on Facebook, or avoid a dinner with a group of your girlfriends, think again. You have a life, beyond work and family. Go for it.