What Does Me-Time Mean To You?

me time

Meng Wang, a investment banking analyst, has used her runs as a chance to multi-task by exercising and exploring her city

TORONTO, Canada — For young professionals who balance multiple roles, “me-time” can often be a foreign concept. Finding the time to succeed at personal, non-career based goals is hard enough, without adding the extra need for me-time. While the physiological benefits of de-stressing and relaxation are often explored and promoted, how practical is it to actually set aside time for a few moments of downtime?

There-in lies a few questions that I have struggled with as a young professional. What are the best ways to relax and de-stress for a busy professional? What do successful people do and how do they find the time to do it? And what is me-time anyway?

As I struggled with this challenge, I decided to crowd source and pose the following question to a diverse set of professionals:

What does me-time mean to you? How do you relax, de-stress or distract yourself in the midst of your busy life?

The answers are both diverse and insightful:

  • Meng Wang, Analyst at TD Securities: “Me-time to me means my runs. I picked up running about a year into my life as an investment banker and it quickly became my favourite way to de-stress and rejuvenate. I took small steps and began with 5km runs at night, but that quickly escalated to training for my first marathon. I am now training for my second marathon this coming October. It may seem counter-intuitive that running 20km on a Sunday afternoon is relaxing. However, I absolutely love that running allows me to spend in the sun, get lost in my music and explore my beautiful city.”
  • Emily Scarlett, Communications and Press at H&M Canada: “Me-time is something I really value! I work in a fast paced environment, so when I have time to relax, I take the time to enjoy the outdoors with my dog and my husband. I love summer me-time the most as it usually means trips up north in Ontario to my cottage. Basically, any time spent outside enjoying this beautiful country is me-time well spent in my mind.”
  • Tania DeSa, Leadership Coach, Trainer and Speaker at Tania DeSa International: “Me-time is giving myself permission to do things that light me up. For me, it is dancing, so a zumba class or night of salsa dancing fulfils me and energises me to come back to my work with new momentum. I also believe that having a solid support network is essential. I have got a team of accountability buddies, coaches and friends that I can lean on to help me de-stress (or remind me not to sweat the small stuff).”
  • Vikram Somasundaram, Co-founder at Edusight: “I find that removing myself from my day-to-day work helps me relax and also gives me good perspective on the challenges I face. A good book, funny TV show, or best of all, quality time with close friends and family are the most relaxing. I come back de-stressed, but also able to take on the same challenges I had before with fresh perspectives and renewed enthusiasm.”
me time

While finding time for rest and relaxation has many benefits, busy professionals often find themselves struggling to find time to step away from work and other priorities

From these interviews, I was able to come up with three distinctive insights:

  • First of all, me-time has no clear meaning. For some it is the ability to relax and gain perspective, while for others it is a way to rejuvenate for another busy day. Its definition is as unique as the needs and interests of people that embrace the concept.
  • Second, “me-time” does not have to mean break from the multi-tasking that many of us cherish. Going on runs is a chance to explore the city, being outdoors or taking a class is time to spend with loved-ones and staying home and watching some TV can be a way to stay up-to-date with pop culture.
  • Third, considering the amount of stress and pressure active professionals are under, it is more important than ever that we take the time out to de-stress, stay mentally and physically healthy, and stay grounded. If not for the well-known physical and mental benefits of relaxation, it is important to have a fresh perspective to take on our daily challenges and stay motivated at work.

In this way, “me-time” is essential to being an efficient, productive and passionate professional. We need to stop treating it as an add-on to our lives or another to-do list item and start treating it as an important step for us to reach our full potential both personally and professionally.

So unplug, put away your work notes, call up a friend – find your version of “me-time” and embrace the many benefits it has to offer.

Courtesy of: Meng Wang, Emily Scarlett, Tania DeSa and Vikram Somasundaram.
Tarini Chandak About the author

Aspiring businesswoman and fashionista, bringing her youth perspective in the fashion space, ethical fashion movement and Canadian lifestyle trends. Working towards a degree in accounting and finance, she lets her creative side shine through her passion for writing, fashion and exploring the world.