Note: Detailed survey results can be found in a SlideShare presentation at the end of the post.
Being active, engaged and successful is not an easy task. From the moment we open our eyes, until we fall asleep exhausted at night, we seem to confront a never-ending list of urgent tasks: taking out the trash, preparing lunch for our family, rushing to business meetings, checking our email on the fly.
And even when we should be relaxing, we are not. As true representatives of a multitasking society, we are watching a movie and thinking about what we have left unfinished at work; getting our nails done and nervously tapping our feet, in a constant hurry by default. Ironically, it’s precisely this downtime – most often called ME time – that helps us recharge and face all our responsibilities.
The .ME crew is made of experienced professionals who know all about the challenges of achieving work/life balance. We came to an idea – start a ME Day movement – a day when we will make time to celebrate our achievements, embrace our uniqueness and put ourselves first. With that in mind, we conducted an informal ME Day Survey that included 753 respondents living in the USA. We wanted to see how much time people devote to themselves in order to ensure their physical, mental and spiritual well-being!
This is what we found out!
Finding work life balance is not an easy feat!
Only one in 10 people consider themselves a master juggler when it comes to balancing their professional and private life. On the other side of the spectrum, the number of people that consider their life out of balance is doubled (20%).
8 out of 10 of respondents stated that they feel stress around finding work/life balance. The best companies to work for have programs and policies that help their employees with balancing their professional and personal demands. Unfortunately, sometimes even that is not enough; because while we are high-achieving project managers at work, we don’t seem to manage our own lives.
Finding balance is harder if we don’t take time to recharge!
Most of us feel stressed because we are always in a state of constant hurry. There may be lots of moments in our daily lives that we could enjoy, but we miss them because we are so focused on what comes next.
The sunrise is beautiful, but not so much when you are stuck in traffic. The streets of your city are full of life, but not so much when you are late for a meeting. Seem familiar?
It’s shocking that the majority of people (30%) make time for themselves only once or twice a year! Only 20% of people make time for themselves every three of four months, while most alarmingly 20% of people never take a ME day.
This practice must change! Independent research shows that quality ME time is very important to our well-being. No matter how stressed we feel, by intentionally practicing activities we enjoy, we can recharge our batteries and neutralize the effects of stress on both our body and mind. People who enjoy regular ME time report its positive effects on their state of mind, indirectly improving the quality of their relationships and performance at work.
And it is all a big, endless cycle!
The number one reason for not taking a ME time, given by close to 70% of respondents, is the fact that just we don’t have the time! Let me tell you something – you will never be less busy. People surrounding you will never need you less. But if you want to be there for them long-term, you have to start being there for yourself. Don’t just sit and fantasize of how nice it would be to go on a phone-free picnic with your family – do it! Don’t think just wistfully about that interesting book – go ahead and read it. Make the time – no one will do it for you!
The number two reason is feeling guilty – feeling like we are being selfish if we put ourselves first. Here it’s important to consider how other people will benefit from our ME time. By doing things that will make us healthier mentally, emotionally and physically, we will be more resilient, more patient and more positive when interacting with other people. There is a reason why the flight attendant reminds you to put on the mask first and then do the same for the others. Make sure you are here for the people you love long-term by putting your mask on first.
Other reasons for not taking a ME Day – most often it was the problem of not having enough funds. But ME day is not about spending large amounts of mone. Sometimes it isn’t about being alone or even about taking the entire day off. ME Day is about making time to do something that will make us happy and fulfilled – be it cuddling up with a book, taking a warm bath, going window shopping with your sister, perusing a museum, or just ordering a pizza and watching the whole season of your favorite TV show. It’s all about little things in regular intervals that will allow us to give our brains a break, be present in the moment, and breathe deeply.
Let’s build a new, healthier cycle!
It makes us very happy to see that majority of respondents found the idea of a ME Day and the cause of me worthwhile. One of the questions in our survey was whether respondents would be interested in having a holiday that would be all about celebrating ME and promoting the importance of taking care of ME. About third of respondents were unsure about the idea (we hope to have them convinced by now), but nearly 50% responded with a resounding “Heck yeah!”.
At domain .ME, our mantra is: “Like any hero, you deserve a day when your achievements will be celebrated, uniqueness embraced, and wishes fulfilled. And you are a hero – every time you take care of your family, contribute to your community and follow your dreams!”
Join us in raising awareness about importance of self-appreciation, celebrating our successes and taking care of ourselves by spending quality ME time on March 16th, and tweeting about it with #MEday hashtag!
Detailed results of the ME Day Survey can be found in the following SlideShare presentation:
The goal of this blog post is to spread the values of self-appreciation and importance of taking care of ourselves, and give you a place where you can feature who you are and celebrate your achievements. All of these values are going to be embodied in “ME Day” celebration on March 16th, 2015.