Women are constantly juggling competing demands for their time – duty calls as a mom, wife, sister, friend, boss, employee, etc. If that wasn’t already complicated enough, COVID went and threw a chaotic curveball, by sending us into lockdown – and with it, working from home.
Most days, life’s a tightrope act – between making sure the laundry’s done, the family and dogs have been fed, and keeping the kids entertained (restrained) while you attempt another Zoom meeting, leaving little wiggle room for ‘me’ Time.
Rioma Cominelli, Director, First Loyalty Plus, says, “We’ve all heard the oxygen mask theory, but rarely take heed of the advice that if you’re on the proverbial plane that’s about to crash, you must put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others – if you don’t, you’ll not be able to help anyone else. But being nurturers by nature, we struggle with the idea of helping ourselves before others – we’re simply genetically engineered to put others’ needs ahead of our own. But if you don’t make time for yourself, you’ll crash and burn – and contrary to popular belief, it’s not selfish to make time for yourself.”
Rioma adds that as a working mother, grandmother and wife she knows all too well how tough it can be to make time to relax, “Ironically, you may need to actually schedule ‘me’ time, even if it feels weird. Book it in your diary and treat it with the importance you would for any other meeting. You wouldn’t cancel an important client meeting, so don’t cancel on yourself! Sometimes though, no matter how well you plan your relaxation time in advance things do happen, so it’s important to be flexible. If it’s not possible to stick to your date with yourself, then be unwavering in your commitment to carve out that time for later. Also, listen to your body and watch out for warning signs – a sore back, squinting eyes, foggy brain, headache or a short temper – are all indications that you need a time out.”
Once you’ve booked the time in your diary, what then? Rioma offers five relaxing ways to unwind in under 60 minutes:
1. Soak: Relax in a hot bubble bath, with your favourite scented candle ablaze, and soothing music playing gently in the background.
2. Spoil: Treat yourself to a mani, pedi or foot massage (did you know that the First Loyalty Plus rewards programme offers 20% off treatments at more than 22 spas countrywide? And, as a member, you’ll also get a full body massage free every 12 months).
3. Breathe: Spend some time meditating, doing yoga or walking around the block.
4. Laugh: Meet a friend for coffee and a catch up – the release of endorphins can be healing! (First Loyalty Plus members also get 2 coffees for the price of 1, plus get R120 off meals from 1500 restaurants countrywide.)
5. Sleep: Set your alarm and have a power nap for just 20 minutes – research shows that this will increase your energy levels, and not leave you groggy.
“Remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup, and the only way to keep refilling your cup is to make it a habit,” Rioma concludes.