It may sound obvious, but many
of us forget to take time for ourselves.
People have all sorts of expectations for
themselves and the drive to meet those
can make it hard to take time.
“We are entitled to breaks,” says Beth
Evans, manager of Mental Health Promo-
tion at Alberta Health Services. “People
need to respect that for themselves.”
And, she says, we should be able to do it
guilt-free. “You are taking care of yourself
by taking a break. It ensures you’ll have
the energy to return to whatever other
roles you play, whether as a parent or a
Taking a little “me” time is an impor-
tant part of managing life’s stresses.
“Anyone can get stressed,” Evans says.
“Absolutely anybody, anytime.”
While most of us may not enjoy feel-
ing stressed, it’s not always a bad thing.
Stress is a biological reaction to what is
going on around us and it is a part of
how we function. “We need a bit of stress
in order to work at peak performance,”
explains Evans. Some stress is good, but
chronic stress is bad. When you begin to
feel overwhelmed or burnt out, one of the
best things you can do is call a timeout,
step back and take a moment for yourself.
When you take time for yourself, you
are really making space for yourself in
your life — giving your mind and body a
break and time to re-energize. It’s meant
to be about you.
“Do things that you enjoy, that invigorate
you,” says Evans. Enjoy your favourite
hobby, go for a hike, take a bath — use this
time to take care of yourself in whatever
way you choose. Taking time for yourself
doesn’t have to mean taking time alone
(unless, of course, that’s what you need).
“It is useful often when you are under
stress to connect with other people,” Evans
says. “People need relationships in order to
The benefits of taking a personal time-
out aren’t limited to adults. Children and
teenagers experience stress, as well, and
need to they be encouraged to care for
themselves. “Children need downtime,”
Evans emphasizes. “There are a lot of
pressures they experience we may not
realize.” If you notice your son or daugh-
ter showing signs of stress, encourage
them to take an hour off to take some
“me” time, as well. — Abby;Miller