Healthy "Me Time" for MenIN MEN'S HEALTH
The man cave stereotype contains some truth: Many men need a few minutes away from others after a busy day to decompress, gather their thoughts and reenergize. How can men find this time alone without leaving their loved ones feeling ignored?
For men who are married or in a relationship, creating space in their day for solitude can be difficult. However, research shows that alone time is among men’s most important needs. A recent study at the Florida State University College of Business surveyed more than 400 working couples from a wide spectrum of occupations. During the study, men and women were asked how they preferred their partners to support them and help them relieve work-related stress. In addition to appreciation and affection, men identified a need for their partners to allow them to spend time alone.
Time for Self, Not Selfishness
Finding alone time does not mean men should abandon responsibilities at work or at home. To strike an appropriate balance between solitude and the needs of your partner or family, try the following:
- Be purposeful. Which activities and settings allow you to relax alone? Do you feel more relaxed watching the game on the couch or hiking in the woods? There is no right answer, as long as you feel refreshed later.
- Choose a time. Some men need more solitude than others. Decide how much time you need and when you can fit it into your schedule. Once this time is on your calendar, guard it against intrusions from the office or other people.
- Communicate. Share your need for solitude with others, especially your partner. Friends and loved ones will feel more receptive if you discuss the amount of time you need, when you need it and what you will be doing during that time.
- Create boundaries. Without being selfish, restrict your availability during your times of solitude. Turn off your phone and read your emails later. Let people who might need to reach you know that you will be unavailable for a short period.
- Stay healthy. Be careful not to use alone time for excessive drinking, smoking or other potentially harmful activities. If you find it relaxing, consider physical activities, such as walking or biking.
Healthy time alone should leave you feeling refreshed. Once you have had a chance to decompress, consider the following ways to bond with your spouse and children:
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Sources: awesomehusbands.org, kansascity.com, latimes.com, menshealth.com, nih.gov, phoneixmenscounseling.com