Taking time out for myself is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. I’m a total workaholic who finds it difficult to draw the line between work and time off. If I take a day off, it’s mainly spent stressing about all of the things I should be doing – so a whole day off is a very rare occurrence for me because it more often than not leaves me more stressed than before. So to keep my sanity, I’ve been trying to incorporate a moment for myself into every single day. It can be a long moment or just a brief moment, but as long as it’s truly enjoyable and takes your mind off work/uni/the absurdities of life, then I count it as my moment for the day.
Firstly, let’s have a chat about the difference between high-density and low-density fun, because it’s a concept I’ve been recently introduced to. Studies show that people who schedule high-density fun have significantly reduced levels of stress and higher levels of productivity than those who partake in low-density fun. Low-density fun includes activities like jumping on social media or watching a YouTube video – activities that tend to leave you feeling drained rather than refreshed. On the contrary, high-density fun involves activities that you personally LOVE and are passionate about, and you ultimately get the most enjoyment out of, even if in just short bursts. Since discovering this concept, I’ve been forcing myself into a moment of high-density fun every. Single. Day. No exceptions. Your activity can vary, of course, depending on your schedule, but scheduling a moment of high-density fun into every day has, in my experience, made me a more productive and therefore less stressed human.
I thought I’d share a few of my favourite high-density moments. Some take half an hour, some take five minutes. But as long as I have my moment, I’m good for the whole day. Your moment can be at the beginning of each day or in the midst of the 3pm madness. It doesn’t matter.
If I’m really strapped for time, for example, during exam season, my favourite quick moments include taking my dogs outside in the sunshine, or lighting a candle, making a really strong cup of tea and drinking it sans technology. If I have a little more time, I love meeting friends for coffee or collecting my thoughts in a journal. My gym runs boxing classes on Monday nights, and if I have time to swing by, I count this as my moment too because I’m obsessed with it and it makes me happy. Very rarely I’ll have an hour or two to take a bubble bath, and I consider this my ultimate reward moment. These are all really small and easy things to do, but it’s the act of forcing time for yourself every day that contributes towards your mental well-being.
I recently met a life coach, and we got chatting about this idea of taking a moment for yourself every day. She said, “if you take a moment to be selfish every day, you’ll be able to give your best self to everyone else.” That’s so true. If you’re constantly running around giving your energy to everyone and everything else but yourself, how can you expect to have any energy left to be your best self?