So this March, I have decided to complete a set of habits daily in order to ensure that I am able to achieve work-life balance, and essentially avoid burn out. My cornerstone habit being leaving work at 6pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and at 6.30pm on Thursday afternoons.
These last two weeks I have done exactly that, left work at exactly 6pm regardless of how much stuff I had left to do, gone home and started to attend to home things. One thing I’ve realised after doing this is how much time I actually have when I get home. I get home at 7, cook, eat, wash the dishes and am usually all done by 9pm at which time I’m wondering… hmm… what do I do now? I check the work bank account – which is still the same number as it was just before I left work at 5pm, I take out my kindle and do some reading, even look at some ideas for a holiday in July, one time I decided to do some stretching.
It’s was nice – then the weekend came. Jeremy was tired and preparing to work the night-shift so I was given some much coveted alone time. I finished with my chores by 10.30am and began to feel the urge to do so me work-work; which I am proud to say, I did not give into. Determined, I started thinking about all the LIFE STUFF I could do, which became quite the overwhelming experience. The diatribe in my head pretty much went:
Do I go shopping? What do I shop for? Should I be doing something else? reading a book maybe? What should I read? Should I read one of those self improvement books or is that not relaxing enough? Should I meal-plan? Are there any meal planning apps? Which one should I get? What time is it? Do I have time to spend time on this? Should I ask a friend to come shopping with me?
Needless to say, I exhausted myself thinking. I found myself sitting on the couch for at least an hour paralysed by the never ending choices of what I could do with my free time as well as pondering the irony of having so much free time and so many ideas of what to do yet, choosing to do none. In the end, I left the house to go shopping.
When I got home and put away the shopping (I chose to buy only groceries). I felt the temptation to pick up work again so I sat down and painted my nails purple then sat on the couch next to Jeremy and stared at the ceiling until it was time for dinner; after which thankfully, Jeremy decided to put on a movie and stop me from having to think too hard about what else I could do before going to bed.
It’s only just occurred to me, now that I am making time for non-work stuff, how few ideas I have about what to do with all that time I’m setting aside (and it’s not even that much!). I’ve noticed how averse I am to planning holidays; I’ve noticed that I judge rest and relaxation as “trivial” and “wasteful”; that I often think to myself, “if you have time; you should be working”. I think that is why I started this blog. Because it’s kinda like work in a way.
That being said, I’m glad that I’ve resisted the urge to do work. It’s made me more mindful about my thoughts about work and rest. I’m learning that its ok to relax and I’m also learning that there are different ways to relax too!