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From a young age, I felt the need to be working or doing something to keep myself busy. It was what I believed to be the measure of success.
While I was able to keep this up for quite some time, I started to feel the effects of overworking myself, especially as I began navigating postgrad life. I was starting to lose pleasure in the things that I loved, I wasn’t as healthy mentally and physically, and it was affecting both my personal and professional relationships.
It’s taken some time to come to terms with, but I’ve realized that my mental health is what is most important. The only way we can continue putting our best foot forward is if we give ourselves time to relax and unwind. While it is much easier said than done, here are a few ways that have inspired me to relax and peel back that urge to overwork:
Shut the Computer Off at 5 p.m.
As someone who works from home, it’s become difficult to separate work from personal life.
One of the things that helps ensure I can fully shut my brain off after the workday is to make sure that as soon as the clock hits 5 p.m. (or as soon as I finish my last work task of the day), I fully shut down my work computer. I don’t pick it up for at least a few hours, sometimes even the next morning. I’ll follow this by taking either a quick cat nap or just an unplugged rest, then start dinner.
This is something I’m still working on, but it has been a game changer for me. Freelance writing is my side hustle, and with that comes frequent communication with new and existing clients. This of course is another layer to the communication I do on a daily basis with those I work with at my full-time job. Things such as establishing main forms of communication (such as emailing instead of calling or texting), hours of availability, workload, and so much more with clients or those you work with can reduce a lot of pressure, as well as give you the space you need to rest when you need it.
Schedule Time to Do Nothing
This tip may not be for everyone, but it’s worth a try. As soon as you start feeling comfortable giving yourself permission to do nothing from time to time, you will notice how great it can make you feel afterward. Our minds and bodies can only take so much. I view scheduling time to do nothing as a way to give my body the rest, rejuvenation, and fuel it needs to pick back up with where I left off, minus the burnout.
The world can be incredibly demanding at times, and while we’ve grown accustomed to making it seem as though overworking is the key to success, we must come back to what matters most — the health of our mind, body, and overall happiness. As we celebrate National Relaxation Day, remind yourself that what’s on your plate can wait, and to put yourself first.