Why you need to take time off (9)

This is article is part of The 30-Day Challenge series. See all articles here.

Taking time off from your goals is just as important as working on them. So make sure that time off and self-care are a priority too.

Why time off is important

I think that we are now living in a culture that encourages us to follow our passions and live out our dreams. It’s an age of opportunity and I love that!

But this time of seemingly unlimited opportunities also comes with a dark side. We live in this world were you need to work hard, to hustle and to skip sleep so you can work more. We don’t take time off or, if we do, we feel guilty because we are falling behind. And now, with social media, we can always see how others seem to be more successful or more hard-working.

What are the effects of this hustle culture? I think it pushes people to work more and innovate and that’s always a good thing. But honestly, I think it also pushes people over the edge. We work until we’re exhausted, we’re so stressed that we can never truly relax and we are all so connected that we hardly connect with ourselves and with each other anymore.

Taking time off should not be something we avoid – but something we look forward to. Why should we take time off? Well, in a twisted way, some would say that you need to take time off so you can be more productive. How perverse!

I say that you should take time off to make sure you live your life. You should not be defined by your work alone – even if you love your job and you enjoy putting in the long hours. Take time off to relax and focus on yourself.

What to do with your time-off

If you spend most of your time working, maybe you won’t even know what to do with your time off. I would recommend doing whatever you enjoy that is also good for yourself. Here are a few ideas:

  • take a walk in nature
  • read a good book just for fun
  • have coffee with a friend
  • go on a date with your partner
  • spend time with your kids (if you have any)
  • spend some time with your parents
  • play with your pets
  • go to the gym and workout
  • practice sports: swimming, tennis, basketball
  • play a board game
  • do a puzzle
  • take dancing lessons
  • go to a museum or a play
  • make time for your hobbies
  • keep a journal
  • go on a vacation

There are many things you can do in your spare time. You just need to find out what you enjoy doing. I would recommend doing something that keeps you active. Try to avoid sitting on the couch and watching movies or TV shows. While we think this is relaxing, the state we actually feel while watching TV is mild depression. So try to choose any activity that will make you feel engaged and happy.

A warning against working too much

While it may be tempting to work a lot, make sure you aren’t working too much. One reason for this is that you definitely don’t want to work hard and burn out.

While I don’t fully understand burnout, it is something you experience because you have bene working too much, have been very stressed about your work or have had some negative experiences related to your work.

Other factors that may contribute to this are lack of control over your work, lack of meaning, lack of social support, high expectations and more.

And once you get to burnout, you’ll experience many unwanted problems such as loss of interest in work, negativity, insomnia, inability to concentrate and more.

As I said, I have not studied burnout too much, but I did realize this: it’s a bit hard to detect and overcome. The symptoms overlap with those of depression, so I’m not sure how you can tell what the real cause is. And since it’s a condition that seems to be elusive and complex, there’s no simple way to treat it quickly. You’ll need to make some changes in your life to manage burnout and this won’t be that easy.

I wanted to mention burnout because I’ve been experiencing something that feels like burnout for a few months now. While it could also be my depression, something feels different this time so they might overlap…it’s not easy. And I honestly this article will make you realize that your need to make time off and do this without feeling guilty in any way.

While I wanted to use The 30-Day Challenge to talk about goals, habits and productivity, I felt like I needed to talk about taking time off too. This is just as important as your personal goals.

Make time for yourself – but not because you’ll be more productive afterwards. Take time off so that you can enjoy a full life focusing on what matters to you!

This article is part of The 30-Day Challenge series where I’ll share an article every day. I will mainly focus on goals, success and habits and I hope this series will help you have a higher chance of achieving your meaningful goals in 2020!

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