Most women in business come to understand the far-reaching benefits of taking time to refill their cup. While it may be challenging to do, we know we are better able to keep up with the demands of running a business, and having a fulfilling life outside of work when we take time to restore. Often dubbed "me time," time spent away from work or daily routines offers an opportunity to switch from “go-mode” to “let-go-mode” so rejuvenation can occur.

Whether you spend your "me time" catching up on rest, walking in the woods or creating art, taking time for yourself makes a significant impact on personal energy, attitude and overall wellbeing. The benefits are far reaching and can even impact the people around you. In fact, committing to regular doses of this time is how many women manage sky-high levels of stress and actually pull off some work-life balance.

But did you know that "me time" can sometimes backfire, adding additional stress––and even guilt?

If you’ve ever taken time out of your busy schedule to relax or play only to find it failed to restore you––or worse––that it actually seemed to set you back, you're not alone.

While prioritizing “me time” can mean the difference between burn out and overwhelm, sometimes it's not enough. If you include regular time for self-care and still have trouble feeling relief or finding balance, you probably need a “me time” upgrade.

Upgrading from ordinary "me time" to "M.E. Time" (Manifesting Effortlessness Time) is easy. Unlike ordinary "me time," "M.E. Time" aligns your time-off choices with who you are and what you actually need. The result? You feel genuinely renewed. Your focus is restored, decisions are easier and your energy is replenished.

A simple switch can help you stop unintentionally sabotaging your stress reduction efforts with mismatched “me time” efforts. So, how can you upgrade?

The following "M.E. Time" Musts can get you started:

1. Identify Your Biggest Balance Saboteur.

One problem with ordinary "me time" is that the activities you choose may have little (or nothing) to do with what's out of balance. Always connect with your body to understand what you need before selecting how to spend your restorative time.

Try taking a moment to truly connect with how you feel right now.

-Are you feeling isolated?
-Do you need to take a break from technologies and get a dose of Mother Nature?
-Are you overdue a highly nutritious, energizing meal or two?
-Has it been too much work and no play lately?
-Do you need to get up from your desk and move?

2. Play The Matching Game.

Now that you know where to direct your time, any kind of self-care should help, right? Not necessarily.

If you are new to taking time to balance stress, it's not uncommon to just find yourself face to face with a "me time mismatch." Here's an example:

If shaking off the day's stress with a run usually sounds good to you, if you've worked late all week, an energy depleting activity like running may not be your best choice.
You may get a lot more out of your restorative time if you forgo an intense workout and instead, respond to your exhaustion with a quiet walk and earlier bedtime.

3. Align With Your True Nature.

I've known many women who decide to take self-care more seriously and start booking regular massages, facials and pedicures, or take up power walks or intense yoga practices. All of these can help with life balance, so it can be confusing if you find your "me time" fails to make a difference.

While it’s tempting to choose to do things that work for other women after hearing raves about weekly pedicures, chic flick nights or power yoga, in order for you to manifest your own life balance, it's important to tell yourself the truth about what works for you–– and what doesn't!

Ask yourself: “What truly helps me relax, laugh, create, learn, heal or blossom the joy in my heart?”

Maybe the truth is you just don't feel pampered when you get your nails done; maybe chick flicks make your eyes roll and intense workouts feel more like work than play. That's okay! What's important is to understand what refills your cup.

Stress, exhaustion and overwork can slow creativity, productivity and cloud thinking. Without taking steps to balance or manage the stress, you can feel disconnected to yourself, harm your health and have less to offer the people and projects you care about.

Tip the scales in your favor and feel the difference (and avoid backfires!) by creating time for the things you genuinely enjoy. Trading ordinary "me time," for "M.E. Time," is an easy way to prioritize your health and happiness, and add support for your business, your relationships––your whole life!

Author's Bio: 

Valerie Thomson, Effortless Life Coach™, author, artist and entrepreneur founded Life Come True, LLC to help other women in business learn to treat themselves beautifully, and find easier paths to realizing their personal and business dreams. By combining creative stress solutions with high-impact success tools and "belief-busting," she offers a variety of services and products to ensure that every woman who wants to grow her business––and her bliss––can start “coming true!”