Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ME, ME, ME! Genuine Free Hours to Ourselves Are All Too Rare in This City. So When You Get That Precious 'Me Time', Use It Wisely, Says Jasmine Gardner, and Learn to Relax Body and Mind, Keep Fit or Get Some Extra Sleep

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ME, ME, ME! Genuine Free Hours to Ourselves Are All Too Rare in This City. So When You Get That Precious 'Me Time', Use It Wisely, Says Jasmine Gardner, and Learn to Relax Body and Mind, Keep Fit or Get Some Extra Sleep

Article excerpt

Byline: Jasmine Gardner

NOW if there is one thing Londoners covet, it's a bit of time to ourselves. But in the daily cycle of Tubework-Tube-sleep, that much-needed "me time" tends to be elusive. We all know that behind the doors of London's busy streets there are hundreds of havens that offer us the chance of some beauty therapy and a bit of relaxation -- trouble is, so many of us don't have time to take advantage of them. In fact, in a recent survey Londoners said they have an average of eight hours less free time a week than they did five years ago. A fifth of Londoners claimed to have just two to three hours' time for themselves per week and more than 12 per cent are spending up to 60 hours a week at work. Here we ask eight of London's busiest health-and-beauty experts how they get "me time" -- and how they advise we should get ours.

IAN MARBER Founder of The Food Doctor Five mornings a week at 7am I see my personal trainer, Brook, at Kensington Studios. It's an indulgence I feel a little guilty about given the expense but it's often the only time I get to myself every day. He gets me to box, lift weights and stretch.

Ian's tip: Cooking is a perfect opportunity to look after yourself. Taking a little time to prepare food is a chance to disconnect from the world and look after your appetite and your health at the same time.

AMANDA BIRCH Facialist at Gielly Green I love to go for a walk in the park with my old dog, Pec. It always helps me to switch off when I'm among the trees and wildlife. It's almost like meditation.

Amanda's tip: Invest in some aromatherapy massage balls (tspheres.com). They're great for some DIY massage and smell amazing. I recommend the "PEP UP" peppermint spheres that rejuvenate the skin and relax facial muscles. Cool them in the fridge, then roll them over your entire face, concentrating on aching areas such as the forehead, temples and below the cheek bones.

DR GUY MEADOWS Founder of London Insomnia Clinic I go for a swim in the Hampstead Heath ponds, whatever the weather. This year I intend to keep going right through winter. A morning swim in the cold water is invigorating and makes you feel alive.

Guy's tip: Take a power nap. Set an alarm to wake you up in 20 minutes (before you get into deep sleep), put in some earplugs to block out unwanted noise, find a comfortable chair and sleep. Even if you don't fall asleep, you have still allowed yourself 20 minutes to focus just on the present moment, which can be equally beneficial.

JOHN TSAGARIS Doctor of Chinese medicine at Energy Bodies Any chance I have to escape from my day I will book myself some Shiatsu acupressure bodywork. It softens my tensed back, relaxes my body and recharges my batteries for the day. John's tip: A walk from the Tube station to work and back can be valuable personal time to realign with your body. …

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