A new study released by OnePoll shows that most Americans aren’t getting enough ‘me time.’ It also found that too much noise, current events, jobs, partners and kids are the top five things that prevent people from getting the R&R they need. What can we do differently? 

Vinay Saranga M.D. is a psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry. He says the good news is there are some very simple steps you can take to incorporate more ‘me time’ into your daily routine.

You have to make the time: ‘Me time’ is just as important to your health as eating a balanced diet and getting enough exercise. For many of us, it’s simply a matter of making the time. Start seeing this as a ‘must-do’ activity and block off 30-minutes to an hour each day to just sit and get quiet with yourself. Anytime of the day will work, but to make it a regular habit it’s best to schedule this precious time around the same time each day.

• There is no set agenda: The best part about ‘me time’ is there is no set list of things you have to do. It’s about doing what you want to do. You can sit in a room that you find soothing. You can listen to relaxing music. You can go to the park and people watch. This is your time to spend by yourself to rest, relax and clear the mental clutter that often bogs us down.

• Strengthen your time management skills: There are only 24-hours in a day. But you might be surprised how strengthening your time management skills can free up some much needed “me time.” Some people prefer to organize their daily tasks in order of importance. Try spending less time clicking around on social media or surfing the web. Maybe you can wake up a half-hour earlier to give yourself some extra time.

• Give yourself permission: Many people feel guilty for taking time to themselves. You must have a change in mindset and realize that scheduling some ‘me time’ is a positive step in caring for your mental health and overall well-being. In fact, it’s something everybody can benefit from. Bet of all, you’ll feel better, think clearer and be more productive.

• Create your own space: The study findings showed that most people don’t have a place in their home to relax. You don’t need a lot of space or a big budget to create a soothing environment. You can designate one room or even a section of a room for this. Paint the walls a comforting color. Add some pillows, candles, pictures and other decorations that you find relaxing. Add an Alexa or other device to play relaxing music.

• Alone time really means alone: The mistake most people make with ‘me time’ is they don’t spend it by themselves. This is not a time to be with your friends, spouse or children. It’s not a time to catch up on the Facebook activities of the day. It’s time for you to rest, relax and recharge. It’s time for you to take a mental break from the world around you and refresh your mind.