MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., October 20, 2000 - The vast majority of American women recognize the importance of caring for themselves as they take care of family and friends, but most fail to do so, according to a new national Self-Nurture Survey commissioned by Minneapolis-based bath, body and home fragrance products company The Thymes Limited.
In fact, 80% of women surveyed admitted that doing something for themselves (like savoring an aromatic bath, enjoying a hobby or taking a walk) would make them feel relaxed and refreshed. Yet, alarmingly, a third of the women surveyed spent 30 minutes or fewer mintues a day doing nurturing activities just for themselves. In contrast, a full 76% of American women spend up to 10 hours daily caring for partners, husbands and/or children -- and one in five (19%) women spend more than 10 hours a day caring for others!
The Self-Nurture Survey, part of The Thymes Limited's Take Thymes for Yourself public awareness campaign, was created in partnership with Dr. Alice Domar, Ph.D., author of the best-seller Self Nurture: Learning to Care For Yourself as Effectively As You Care For Others and director of Harvard's Mind/Body Center for Women's Health. The Thymes Limited commissioned the Self-Nurture Survey after hearing from customers about their longing to take time out of busy lives to do things they really enjoy. Yet those customers found that the modern pressures of diminishing time, the needs of husbands, partners and children, and other obligations were drastically reducing the time they had for the important, yet neglected, role of caring for themselves.
The Thymes Limited telephone survey of 1,000 women also revealed that:
Married, With Little Time For Self-Care: Married women are more than twice as likely to say they have less than 10 minutes a day to spend on themselves, as compared to single women (69% vs. 31%). "All women -- whether married or single, caring for kids or currently without children -- share the same need for self-care," notes Dr. Domar.
Kids Take Up Lots of Time: Not surprisingly, women with kids have alarmingly less time for self-care. Only 8 percent of mothers with one child say they find the time to spend 60 total minutes throughout the day to care for themselves; and with a second small child that figure dropped to 4% of women surveyed! In fact, one out of four women with a single child admitted to The Thymes that they have less than 10 minutes a day to care for their own needs! In contrast, 86% of women with no children under age 6 say they have more than 60 minutes a day to nurture themselves.
Selfish or Well-Deserved Time Off? One of every five women surveyed (20%) admitted that if they took even one hour off to do something for themselves, it would make them feel selfish, guilty, or anxious and unsettled. Married women were four times as likely to feel selfish about taking time out for themselves as unmarried women (81% compared to 19%). And women with even a single child were six times as likely to feel "guilty" about taking time for their own needs as women without children (71% vs. 12%)!
Roadblocks to Self-Nurture: What are the biggest obstacles stopping women from caring for themselves? When The Thymes Limited asked what would they change in their lives to leave more time for self-nurturing, the largest number of women (37%) say they'd hire someone to cook and clean -- followed by quitting their job (25%), buying groceries on-line (8%) and employing a nanny to care for kids (4%). "Curiously, barely 15% of women surveyed said that they'd want their husband/partner or children to take on more daily tasks so they could take time for themselves," says Dr. Domar. "What that figure says to me is, women feel guilty about making their loved ones do `wife's' or `woman's' work."
Women know that life changes can help, notes Domar -- only 1% of women insisted they wouldn't change a thing about their lives to free themselves up for self-nurturing.
Cutting the Digital Cord: More than a third (38%) of women say that "time-saving" digital technologies such as cell phones, beepers, the Internet and Palm Pilots actually decrease the time they have to care for themselves! "We've all embraced technology thinking that it will save time, and with that time, women can take better care of themselves," says Dr. Domar. "In fact, digital devices may have taken much of that self-nurture or alone time away. For working moms, the commute to work used to be their only time alone -- but now with cell phones, women find their children are tracking Mom down in her car to ask about homework or what's for dinner!"
"What's so striking is that hundreds of women admit that they take relatively little time to nurture themselves, even though they know to do so would be healthier and prolong their lives," says Dr. Domar.
"The good news is, women are supporting the right of other women to self-nurture -- a majority of those surveyed (89%) say they'd describe a woman who takes time each day to self-care as `a woman with good self-esteem who knows it's important to care for herself.' A mere 2% of women said they'd consider such a woman selfish.
Founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1982 by Leslie Ross Lentz, The Thymes Limited is the creator of 16 uncommon bath, body and home fragrance collections -- sold in 4,000 specialty stores nationally and internationally -- that enrich the quiet moments in life. For more information about The Thymes Limited, please call (800) 366-4071 or visit www.thymes.com.
For more information, please contact:
Janette Aldrich or Kendra Meyers - (612) 337-0087
Christiana Kippels or Jill Gerard - (612) 338-4471
Chris Deeney - (612) 904-6970