If you’re an introvert, you probably know that you need alone time to be at your best.
If you’re an extrovert, you probably know that you need to go out and socialize to be at yours.
Whatever your personality type is, you need time for yourself. Time to do the things you enjoy, time to recharge, time to take care of your physical and mental health, time to think, time to develop your talents, time to strengthen your personal relationship with God.
How many of us actually take that time?
Last Sunday, after a crazy week of work, projects, and social events, I sat down to write a blog post and found myself drawing a complete blank. I had ideas, but as soon as I started trying to work on one, I couldn’t write anything I was satisfied with. Frustrated, I tried making progress on several other drafts I’d started, but my own mind thwarted me. Again.
When it came down to it, I was exhausted and not at all in the mood to write. But I needed to! I needed to share something inspiring in case someone needed it. I needed to be consistent with my posts. I needed to get over my selfishness and get this done.
How could I inspire anyone when I was feeling so uninspired? Was it worth it to be consistent even though I wasn’t feeling it?
I closed my laptop, watched a movie, and went to bed early. I started the new week feeling refreshed and ready to fulfill my responsibilities, and I had the whole week to find inspiration for this post.
It turned out that what I really needed was some time to unwind, and there was nothing selfish about that.
This wasn’t the first time I had to go through the process of realizing that I needed some “me time,” but I still had to justify the decision to take the time I needed for myself. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced this.
We’re taught to abandon selfishness and to think of others first, and those are great principles to live by, but, like everything else, they can be taken to an unhealthy extreme. “Think of others first” does not mean that you should never think about yourself.
In fact, we’re told many times in the scriptures to think of our own well-being. Matthew 7:3 asks the familiar question, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” And Mosiah 4:27 cautions us to “…see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.”
Both of these scriptures exhort us to pay attention to how we’re doing and take care of our own needs. Additionally, the church’s page on mental health encourages us to “practice self-care” and even links to a playlist of TED Talks on self-care.
We need to take time out of our busy schedules to care for ourselves. We cannot give of ourselves if we’re running on empty. If you can’t find the time, I encourage you to make it. It can be hard to cancel things that feel important to have occasional “me time,” but it’s possible.
And it’s necessary.