Me Time

Questions for Tess Elsen

Article on “Me time” for Pols in Beeld newspaper

  • Do men and women have different views on time management? Yes, generally speaking.  Women think they are able to multi-task better than men so make better use of their time.  Men tend to focus on one thing at a time so feel they are better at finishing things.
  • From your experience, with what things do men and women fill up their time and how do these things differ? I don’t think I would use the term ‘fill-up their time’ In most cases both men and women have full time jobs now, so spare time is a fairly rare commodity, especially if they have children.  Women talk a lot more than men, so would spend a lot of their time engaged in conversations with other women about their lives, their jobs, their boyfriends or husbands etc.   Women need to talk to help relieve stress, it is the opposite for men, they don’t want to talk about their problems, they want to forget about them so they spend more time watching sport or taking part in activities that help them switch off, like television.
  • Do you think the sexes also differ in their perspectives of “me time” or is the need for “alone time” purely based on personality type? Both sexes need me time.  We just express it differently.  In a relationship women can feel threatened when their man does not want to share everything with them.  Alone time is very different for each person, so I would think it is more about personality than gender.
  • Women are often wives/ employees/ employers/ mothers/ etc./ etc. Do you think men respect our need to sometimes just be left alone and to simply be there for ourselves (selfish as that might seem)? I think the stereotypes are changing due to increased pressure financially.  A lot of men are keen to share household duties and responsibilities of children nowadays and are therefore more aware of the need for women to take time off for themselves occasionally.  It is important that women do not lose themselves in the roles they play of wife, mother, employee etc.  There needs to be time for self and keeping in touch with our own needs and aspirations.  In the 7 Habits book by Dr StephenCovey, he talks about the need to Sharpen the Saw, Habit 7.  If I am not looking after me, how can I look after anyone else?  You put the oxygen mask on yourself first, before the children.  This is not selfish, it is common sense!
  • Can couples spend their “me time” together? Absolutely, provided they have agreed on what that ‘together me time’ looks like.  A lot of couples go to gym together or have shared activities in sports or hobbies.  Family time together is very important to some people, quality time.  This doesn’t mean that both people should not still have individual ‘me time.’  Sometimes it is just a few minutes in the day to re-focus, me-time does not have to be hours spent in selfish pursuits.
  • Can time spent alone – thinking/ reading/ a hobby/ just hanging around – be good for relationships? It is always healthy to have time for reflection.  As we learn and grow as individuals it allows us to add more value to the relationship.  The relationship can be damaged when one partner feels there is an imbalance or disproportionate amounts of time spent alone.
  • Anything you would like to add?

“When we truly care for ourselves, it becomes possible to care far more profoundly about other people. The more alert and sensitive we are to our own needs, the more loving and generous we can be toward others.”  Eda LeShan