As 2018 kicked off, I wanted to make some changes when it came to my schedule and work load. I was working too much, often spending 12 hours in front of my computer a day, and feeling anxious from the moment I woke up. Though I thought I was generally happy, I knew this wasn’t the healthiest way to live. And though I was getting a ton of work done, at what price?
It was about that time that my husband suggest I start taking a couple hours “off” in the middle of the day. As someone who used to eat lunch in front of the computer and generally push through all day, breaks weren’t a usual part of my weekday routine. I just didn’t think I had time for them, which I’m sure is a common misconception in our “busier-than-ever” culture.
So the next week, I decided to physically block out two hours on my calendar every single weekday. I live and die by my planner, so seeing it in there almost made it more important instantly. I shifted work around those two hours, and told myself no matter what, I’d give myself two hours a day. (I like to jump into work first thing in the morning, so morning routines don’t always feel great for me – instead, they give me anxiety. The thought of breaking during the day felt more comfortable and natural, which is why I chose mid-day.)
Now, four months later, that two-hour break has completely changed my life. It’s my ME time to make a nourishing lunch, walk my dog, workout, catch up on errands, get out of the house, call my parents, etc. I just listen to my mind and body on what it needs each day since it’s always different. Even though I can’t always do it from noon-2 p.m. (my original plan), I always, always find two hours mid-day around my schedule. It’s a reoccurring task in my Google calendar, and I even mark it bright red to show its importance.
The crazy thing is, I’ve found myself working less in general and spending more time on myself and with loved ones. Since I now have a couple hours blocked off daily, there’s just naturally less that I can fit in my weekly calendar – which has led to taking on less projects.
If you don’t work for yourself or have a flexible schedule, I totally understand a two-hour mid-day break isn’t doable, but surely time for yourself is, right? Even if you can’t take a “break,” the thing that has led to increased happiness is a dedicated ME time – it’s not necessarily the break from work. Whether that YOU time needs to be in the morning, in the afternoon, or after work, that’s not essential – the daily dedication to yourself is.
If you’re feeling anxious, busy, or just overwhelmed with your schedule, I highly suggest physically blocking out this time for yourself – and then sticking to it. It might mean waking up earlier or saying no to weeknight commitments, but when an area of your life is unhappy, you’re the only person who can change things for yourself. Prioritize your well-being and I guarantee you’ll find happiness along side it.
Do you have any daily practices that increase your happiness long-term like this? I’d love to hear!