Sometimes it feels like all we do is work, especially in times such as these, where the ‘cost of living crisis’ is weighing heavily on our shoulders. We must remember that our life shouldn’t – and can’t – just revolve around work. Rather, work funds the things that matter most to us. Although working hard is admirable, we need to take time to not only recharge, but to explore hobbies, be with those we love, and be kind to ourselves.
Family time is something that a lot of us treasure and look forward to, and it’s essential to set aside quality time with those we love most. Time with family doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag – it can be as simple as going on a family walk, picnic, visiting a museum etc. Still, things like holidays, going to theme parks, and going shopping are also excellent ways to distance yourself from the stresses of the workplace, just at a higher cost.
When we’re with our family, we tend to be reminded why we work – to provide and take care of our loved ones (and ourselves!). We can’t look after our loved ones if we’re absent or burnt out, in fact, we can end up doing the opposite – becoming neglectful. If our body and mind isn’t being looked after, other duties fall at the wayside and affect our day-to-day family lives. We need to be compassionate with ourselves so we have the strength to do the same for others.
Time with friends is also crucial for taking your mind away from work. Meeting with friends for a coffee, food or a drink can significantly reduce our stress levels. It’s beneficial to discuss bad work days – which we all have – as this can take some weight off our shoulders and can often lead to good advice and valuable insights.
Sometimes we feel more comfortable sharing these conversations with friends rather than family as we might not want to burden those closest to us, and also because our friends may be able to advise from an arms length. This is why making time for different groups of people is so important – we have a myriad of people in our lives for different reasons.
One of the most important things we can make time for is ourselves. We all need time alone to focus on our own bodies and mental health. When we actively take time for ourselves, we are treating ourselves compassionately, and acknowledging we deserve time for our own wants and needs.
Exploring hobbies, shopping, or taking yourself out for a meal are all great ways to look after your headspace outside of work. But, our bodies also need attention – exercise, bathing, and meditation are just a few examples of positive ways to care for our bodies as well as our minds. We need to remember that we are worthy of these things, and they are essential to ensure we can work productively in the future.
If we fail to treat our minds and bodies well, our work and home life will be negatively affected. Making time for the things we love isn’t a luxury, but an essential. Without people, hobbies, and outings to look forward to our lives can feel two dimensional and unfulfilling, which can lead to more serious mental and physical health ailments. This is why practising compassion with yourself is essential for a healthy work-life balance.
Why not start this self-care journey by blocking out time in your diary to do something for yourself – start with an hour of sacred, protected time, where you can spend time looking after your mind and body through self-care, or being with loved ones. Ensure this time is untouchable by work, and that you have consistent, regular self-care time every week. Make sure to reflect on how you enjoyed your time, so you can really hammer home what makes you happy.
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Written for Calm People by Holly Bennett, Mental Health Writer.