Like I am sure is the case with many of my blog readers, I have a stressful job. I do love it, and I’m very happy there, but it has a tendency to follow me home. Sometimes I feel like my boss expects me to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He sends emails to all the members of his department—and expects our responses—well outside of work hours.And while I’d like to be that available and prove my dedication to my work, sometimes it can leave me feeling tense and burnt out.
My friends are always telling me to take a vacation. I do–I am sure to take my all of my allotted vacation days every year.Unfortunately,any work I missed is always sitting there for me when I return. I’m not exactly irreplaceable at work but nobody fills in for me while I am gone. The stress of catching up is often not worth the time off. Any restful, rejuvenated feelings I get from being away from the office typically disappear the moment I return. More and more, that Sunday nightlikefeeling of dread creeps into my vacation time as well.That defeats the whole purpose of taking time off in the first place. I felt like I needed to come up with something else, something that actually felt relaxing. I wanted something flexible that I could do as a quick rest or a longer break, something that would be easy to do either at work or at home.
I realized that I drink my favorite beverage at both locations, so I decided to make a relaxing routine out of my already established tea drinking habit. To make it a little more special at work, I brought a favorite mug from home (bye bye, gross and environmentally irresponsible Styrofoam cups!) along with a selection of my favorite types of tea. I put the teas in a cute little container on my desk right next to the mug where I can see them, to remind me to take a break every once in a while. I also set up a strict rule for myself: my tea time is me time. There is nochecking email or picking up the phone. The same goes for when I am at home—although at home it is more of a call screening than a complete avoidance. Friends or family I will answer; work I force myself to wait until I am finished with my break; and numbers I don’t recognize don’t get answered at all. The only thing that I am allowed to do, if the mood strikes, is to read. But it cannot be work related, it can only be for pleasure.
By forcing myself to take a few minutes several times during the day to do something I love helps me get through my day with a smile on my face and a lighter feeling in my heart. I didn’t realize how much I needed to carve that time out of my schedule until I actually did it, and I am so thankful that I did.
What about you? Do you have me time? If so, what does it entail? I want some more ideas to incorporate into my own time!