How much "me time"?

(Thanks to materfamilias for planting the seed of this idea, in her wonderful blog, materfamilias writes.)

How long are you willing to spend (on a normal day) on
grooming (hair, makeup) and exercise, time spent strictly on your appearance and fitness? I'm not asking how long you'd like to spend, or how long you could spend, but what's the reasonable time you budget before that voice in your head says, "That's enough"?

Or is your "allowance" never self-imposed? If I allot more than one hour 15 min. for exercise I start to think (even if I'm having fun), "Better get back to all the other stuff."
Or I think, "Oh god, I am turning into one of those self-absorbed idiots who only care about their figure, and it's too late anyway, so I am pathetic."

If I fuss for over 6-7 minutes on my face, I imagine morphing into an over-painted, brittle mutton-tart.

In my 20s, I knew young women who spent hours preparing to go out. I called them "pretty miserab
le girls". My technique was throw-on-a-dress and out the door, while they hot-rollered and teased, curled their lashes. My laissez-faire approach was its own vanity.

When I worked out in my 30s, the staff at Body Design by Gilda would whisper about women who took two or three aerobics classes in a row daily. "The first class is for your body", one said, "the next one is for your head."

I thought that spending a lot of time (define "lot", I don't know) on myself was narcissistic, neurotic and would not yield spectacular results anyway.

I still think that, more or less, but look forward to occasional
longer walks, or an extended yoga workshop. My GF Susan and I just spent a blissful afternoon at
Body Blitz, the therapeutic water spa, and I had not one shred of guilt.

But I still resist spending serious time in front of a mirror. Maybe I'm just avoiding staring at my wrinkles.


It is best that there are is no spread sheet to give me an actual time count for how much time I have spent on my hair in my entire life. I am not aware of the breakdown of how much time I spend on my face. I have never had the voice in my head be concerned about the time spent. It does have a sense of when enough is enough--but that never relates to time.

And, I was one of those gals who took hours to prepare when in my 20's. I have scaled down my routine to 1-1 1/2 hours.
Julianne said…
Lately I have been spending as much time as I want on myself. Being a SAHM for so long, I put myself last. When I turned 50, I decided that I was going to do exactly what I wanted to do. I am a girly girl, and really enjoy the ritual of my morning skin care, make up etc.

I have just started exercising; water aerobics. I have always hated exercise with a passion and found that I love this. It's funny, I have been looking at myself in the mirror lately and thinking "my, you sure are vain." But, then I just laugh and think," so what."
materfamilias said…
Raising 4 kids while working and finishing various degrees, I always tried to budget fitness time and have decent haircuts, but spent less than five minutes daily on hairstyling and make-up. Before I was 45, I had one manicure, never a pedicure. Did indulge in bubble baths, but that was it.
My hair is still mostly wash-product-tousle-airdry (3 minutes tops) altho' I occasionally straighten it. My makeup never takes more than 4 or 5 minutes. But added to my every six weeks' hair cut-and-colour is a pedicure perhaps 6 to 10 times a year. I'd love to get massages more regularly (have a great therapeutic masseuse that I never manage to see) but can't find the time.
As for my exercise, this is entertainment and thinking time as much as it is just for my body. Running my long runs on a Saturday, I work through all kinds of problems. My Pilates classes fill a social need as much as just exercise so again, two birds, one stone.
As the linchpin of a reasonably-sized family with all their needs, and as a prof with all kinds of students needing my help daily, I take "me" time whenever and wherever I can get it -- I truly believe it just helps me be better and giving everyone else the time they need from me.
WendyB said…
I've really never spent the time to calculate the time I spend.
Mardel said…
My hair is pretty much tousled, I spritz with bodifying spray and dry a few minutes, leaving the hair damp and just tousle. I was never one of those hours of prep girls. But I do put on lotions, sunscreen and makeup. Recently I have been playing with eyeshadows and having fun -- why did I wait until I was in my 50's? But even so the morning routine from shower to finished makeup is 30 minutes and I don't feel bad about that. Of course there are haircuts and I used to get manicures, pedicures and the occasional massage. I am sure I will again.

Exercise is not just "me time" in a beauty sense, but also good for health which is good for all who love us. But too much is too much. I like the comment about "one class is for your body" and the second one being for one's head.

Interestingly I just had a long talk with my internist (male) who talked about taking time for daily exercise (he recommended at least an hour) and occasional other weekly relaxing indulgences as a way of dealing with the stresses of being a caregiver. He thought that time for exercise helps the body remain strong, helps with stress levels, but also provides a mental and emotional boost in that in a life where one feels out of control, being able to control even something as seemingly unimportant as how one looks (not just health) can be a source of strength and resilience.

So I have renewed my determination to be stand by my "me time" and not feel guilty about it.
Anjela's Day said…
About 10 minutes in the morning when I lock myself in the bathroom and have some time to myself.
I also have 15 minutes in the afternoon for tea and to lay in a dark room and shut the world out.
I take an hour or two when I am healthy and can stand up to walk on the tredmill and about another hour to stretch and do my mosified yoga.
Two hours a week for physical therapy which I dread but which leave sme able to walk and not fall down a smy internal balance system is so screwed up.
Most of my alone time is for survival meaning if I don't do this I will be gaga and staring at a ceiling in some long term facility. I would love to just write and travel and spand more time with my children (21 and 23) and have my body be reliable. Then I'd gladly trade the medic time for beauty....most of the time I no longer care.
Anonymous said…
I just consider exercise, skin care, naps, good food, hair cuts and the like as what I need to maintain my equanimity while I serve the people I love on a daily basis. When I take what I need, whether it's an hour to nap or read, or to do my nails, I'm so much better equipped to help everyone else. I try not to tell my friends about the naps, it truly is a guilty pleasure.
Duchesse said…
What I was mulling in this post is my complex relationship to the current endorsement (namely by Oprah) of "me time". I am 100% behind the idea of taking time (without guilt) to recharge, think and stay sane. Sometimes I see the "me time" concept used (NOT by you, dear blogfriends) as an excuse to wallow in overweening self-absorption.
Anonymous said…
I think I have spent an hour, tops on my hair and face in the last year! My me-time is always taken with reading and blogging, and it's beginning to show. I think I need to get a treadmill operated computer.
Susan B said…
I spend about 5 minutes on my hair each morning, including washing and drying (hooray for short, short hair!) and about 10 minutes on skincare and makeup. Evenings it's about 20 minutes for shower, skincare and lotion. Exercise is when I walk the dogs. I get about 2 hours every five weeks to get my hair colored and cut. Blogging, which I also consider "me time" I do intermittently while hanging out with my son after work, or on my lunch hour. That's pretty much it. If I had more time, I'd get more facials and massages, and read more books.
Anonymous said…
Me time... Well, after that thoroughly lovely time spent naked with you on Monday I felt properly indulged and wanted a nap. I usually take a nap in the afternoon. My staff sometimes insist on it because they know I get more cranky if I don't have it. I've done that for almost 30 years, following the example of my dentist father who would come home at noon for lunch and lie down on the floor for a 20 minute nap. Or did something else with my mother upstairs. I also take long walks and nice baths and always meditate. I listen to audio books while I work making the tasks a pleasure. I have no guilt about looking after myself. Mani-pedi anyone?
Duchesse said…
sjcyogi! We were only half naked!

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