A friend recently shared how he drops off the grid for a week every year and goes hiking in the bush. He leaves behind all technology and contact with regular society. I’m not sure how others react when he tells them this because he seemed surprised when I agreed that it was a great thing to do. My exact words were ‘It’s good for the soul’.
I’m sure he must be used to people telling him that it’s weird and not being able to understand why anyone would want to do it. So why does he? It’s because he sees the value in taking time off from work to spend doing the things he loves, the things that enable him to recharge and de-stress.
Have you found yourself in a position where your work life is overtaking and overpowering your home life? In many jobs there are certain times of the year when work does increase, such as tax time for an accountant, reporting time for a teacher or retail hours for the shop assistant at Christmas. It’s when we find ourselves spending more and more time at work outside of those stress points, that it’s time to stop and have a look at our priorities.
The saying ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ is every bit as true as it has ever been.
The executive who never takes any time off to recharge will be less productive. The mother who never has a moment away from her children will be less tolerant. The sportsperson who never makes time to rest will not improve their fitness.
I believe that we all need to take time out from the daily grind to reconnect with things that are important to us. We all have different ways of taking time out and what is perfect for one person may seem like torture to another. What is important is that we make time to do the things that matter to us.
If you are yet to be convinced, consider this:
In her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, Bronnie Ware shares the top five regrets expressed by the people she nursed in a palliative care facility.
Regret 1) I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Regret 2) I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
Regret 3) I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Regret 4) I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Regret 5) I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Take a moment to think about whether the things you are doing now are leading you down this path. Are you doing things because other people want you to? Are you spending too many hours at work? Are you agreeing with others just to keep the peace? Have you lost touch with your friends? Do you realise that the choice to be happy or unhappy is yours to make?
If we can learn anything from Bronnie’s patients it’s that it’s not a waste of time to make time for the things you love. To make time for the things that matter to us, to recharge and replenish our energy and enthusiasm is important. Do that and you will look back upon your life and remember the things you did rather than regret the things you didn’t.
Unlike my friend, not everyone will have the opportunity to unplug from the world for a week every year but we can all benefit from a regular mini unplug. The opportunities are endless depending upon your own personal interests and a bit of imagination but here are a couple to get you started.
What things are good for the soul?
A long hot bath
Sitting in silence for 5 minutes before beginning the day
Spending time with pets
Listening to music on Spotify
Listening to audio books on Audible
Spending time in nature
Spending time with family
Spending time with friends
Going for a drive in the country
You are only limited by your imagination.
Do you do something just because it’s good for your soul? What do you do that helps you to switch off and recharge, the thing that enables you to face the world again with enthusiasm?
Check out my Recommendations Page for book recommendations and a some useful applications to assist you to make the time to do the things you enjoy.
When it all boils down, there will always be more work to do. Work hard but then stop and enjoy time with the children, your partner, your pets, your hobbies. No amount of work can make up for missing out on those things in life.