Friday, 26 February 2010

Me Time

A few days ago I heard a discussion on BBC Radio 4 about me time. I had been looking forward to this programme. It would be a half hour of me time for me. I settled down to listen but was surprised to hear me time being referred to as ‘a sad, self-serving concept from those who have it all but want more.’ They talked about me time being ‘a marketing ploy from the States’ who have imposed a ‘me, me, me society’ on us encouraging us to be selfish. There seemed to be a general agreement that nobody needs me time.

Well this listener does not agree. Everybody needs me time. It doesn’t mean ‘I am the centre of the Universe’. The nearest the discussion got to discussing me time as I understand it was when they talked of ‘snatched pleasures’ but even that phrase has undertones of guilt. Why should a pleasure have to be snatched? We should all be entitled to take time out to do something enjoyable. It might be looking at the daffodils that are unravelling in a vase beside me as I type, or not running for the bus and watching it sail by knowing that you can sit in the bus shelter listening to the birds for ten minutes. After all, what harm can there be in arriving ten minutes later, especially when it gives you the opportunity to notice how brightly the birds are singing just now? It’s not only about being aware of nature. It might be wandering through a market looking for nothing in particular, visiting the local museum, the list is endless.

Me time is vital if you are living the sort of life where you rush around, ticking jobs off the to-do list, and refusing to say ‘no’ to anyone in case they think less of you. This is a routine that can creep up on you without you realising it. I rarely pop round to friends for a chat these days which could mean that I’m no longer encouraging them to have a bit of their own me time. So that’s it! Friends beware! I’ve decided I’m going to start visiting you all again, turn a bit of me time into me/we time. Come to think of it, if we have a cup of tea while we’re chatting I suppose we’ll be having me/we/tea time. [Sorry, couldn’t resist it!]

So bring on me time, banish guilt and I’d like to end on a quote from the radio programme. This is one I’m certainly in agreement with; ‘The next time you see a beautiful sunset, stop what you’re doing and look at it because we’re a long time dead.’


  1. Oh. My. God. As a busy Mum of 3 young children I would like to stand in front of the person who thinks the idea of "me time" as being selfish. I feel lucky if I get 5 minutes to myself in the shower at the moment.

    Totally agree with your way of thinking. Plus, if you don't try and scratch out a bit of time for yourself, no-one's going to offer to make any time for you, are they??

  2. Yikes! Me Time is not selfish - it is a survival skill!

  3. Thanks Rebecca and Jemi. I'm glad it's not just me who believes in 'me time'.

  4. You've got to be kidding.
    I bet none of those peple on the radio programme ever led a really busy life with little help.
    Me time is a MUST for everyone.

  5. I used to feel guilty if I had a day doing nothing, but then I realised that doing nothing is actually doing something e.g., thinking, planning, nurturing. Now in the retirement of life I structure my day to include lots of precious ‘Me Time.’ Wish I could learn to say “No” though……. Any ideas?

    Hey Ros would love to have me/we/tea time with you, any time!

    Favourite quote - “don’t forget to smell the roses.”

    Rifka M.

  6. I agree with you all about me time. It is essential. Unless you take time to enjoy life you are not living you are existing. My favourite quote is the same as Rifka's. Maybe “me time” is the wrong phrase maybe it should just be called “living” and having quality of life. Someone said to me the other day that they though reading during the day was an indulgent thing to do. In that case I must be a very indulgent person as that is one of my favourite "me times" and I indulge in it often and never feel the least bit guilty. Not sure I have mastered the art of saying no and not upsetting people. But practise does make perfect!! Love Karan

  7. I didn't listen to the programme but I can't believe that me-time equates to being selfish. I think they've taken one meaning it could have and seen that in isolation. Wow! Do they seriously think that we should give all of our time over to others and not nurture our own lives and being in any way? That can't be right.

    Even if you only get 5 minutes with a cuppa or 30 minutes with a book at the end of the day, that surely has to be cherished and good for the soul, which in turn will help you be the best that you can be when others call on you and/or make demands on your time.

  8. Agreed, Ann, me time is a must.

    I listened to the programme twice, Kath, to make sure I hadn't misheard. I think that Karan has hit it on the head. Me time is the wrong phrase to use as it can be misinterpreted but we all know what we mean by it.

    Mind you, Karan, I can't believe that someone out there actually thinks that reading during the day is indulgent.

    I'm glad you've learnt not to feel guilty about me time, Rifka, and you're so right that doing nothing is doing something. I can't help you with the 'no' issue though. Have the same problem myself. Anyone else got a suggestion? How do we learn to say no?


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