Given the hectic demands of modern family life, it can be pretty easy to forget that it’s important to take time for yourself. In most cases, we get so tangled up in the requirements of our daily grind that we tend to overlook our own self-care and care of our home. I can relate to how easy that can be. For example, one of the few “benefits,” if they can really be called that, of the pandemic quarantine when everyone was pretty much sequestered to their home, is that I had far more time to do some reading, writing, playing the daily challenges on some games and playing with my kids. With some aspects of society slowly returning to normal, that extra time has disappeared and my ability to self-care seems to have disappeared with it.
Taking breaks and finding the time to relax is important. Because as they say, you can’t help or take care of others until you’ve taken care of yourself. Don’t ask me who “they” are, I have no clue. But this is a very true fact and it applies to work, leisure and family life. If one doesn’t take the time to let one’s head cool, it gets difficult if not altogether impossible to properly manage one’s daily grind and responsibilities.
Work is a great example. Any productive job will be a roller coaster of busy-ness. one week may be pretty tame and you have plenty of time to catch up on things and the next week will feel like the job is literally trying to drive you to drink from all the added pressure. And that’s why, even when it’s busy, you can and SHOULD take time for coffee breaks and step away from the computer. Whether you actually get coffee or not is irrelevant. The act of walking away from your computer or work for even fifteen minutes gives you the opportunity to recharge, get some fresh air and will actually increase one’s productivity.
Some there are and those are they, who are often inclined to believe that taking a break when they’re busy will cause the work to grind to a halt or make things worse. But let’s be realistic, here…. The work will still be there whether you take the break or not. Fifteen minutes won’t make a measurable amount of difference in the workload BUT it may make a measurable difference in your productivity. And that’s where the important difference lies.
The same applies to your home life. Maybe you have work to do at home. Maybe you have a spouse who needs your attention. Maybe you’re a parent and have to help your kids with homework and play with them. It can seem pretty daunting, especially if you work long hours, do shift work or usually end up needing to bring some work home with you. By the time the family meal is done and everything is cleaned up and you’ve squared away the kids, you’re likely too tired to commit yourself to work.
It can be all the more difficult if your life includes anything extra. Let’s use an example like, oh, I don’t know…karate! Although an experienced practitioner can train at home, it stands to reason that most students need to attend class. Finding time to do so with everything I’ve described can be a bit difficult, especially if you know that stuff is piling up and waiting for you. Not to mention that despite the fact that those activities are important to you, your family may not understand and often resent your absence.
That’s why communication is important and integral, in both personal and work circumstances. Most of the time, unless you’re being radically unreasonable, communicating and explaining your needs will go a long way towards helping others understand what you need to take better care of yourself. Once that communication has been achieved, you can work on some self-care, which in turn will help you to better help others.
Although I totally understand that it’s often easier said than done, take your breaks. Indulge in some self care. No matter the time constraints, the workload or the home responsibilities, you owe it not only to yourself but to everyone in your entourage to ensure that you’re refreshed, relaxed and can give them your best you. Working or stressing yourself into an early grave is pointless. After all, you only live once. That we know of…😉 Food for thought…☯️