Think about your job or your job search as the case may be. Did you just experience an immediate jolt or tinge of stress, heightened alertness etc.? Now think about a prolonged job search with all the ups and downs, or a job that generates little personal satisfaction. Got it? Okay that’s good. Read on.
A full-time job or job search is 7 or 8 hours minimum a day. Add to this the time you prepare to go to work, travel to and from work, think about work before and after hours, maybe working from home etc. Think about the constant strain of the job search and when not actually job searching constantly being on the alert for new leads, budgeting what you can spend money on at the grocery store, what you need to sacrifice etc. That’s a huge block of time spent worrying, investing serious thought and emotional energy. Because a serious job search or a full-time job is such a large chunk of our daily lives, it naturally follows that if this block of time isn’t all that positive, it becomes all the more critical that you find some time to do things that you derive pleasure in.
Time is a commodity like anything else, and you can’t add more time to a day or detract from it. What you have the full power to do however is consciously decide HOW you will spend the time you have, each of those 24 hours. Think for a few moments about what it is that is enjoyable for you to do, that you could add in to your daily routine. Because you’re adding this to your daily routine, this is going to be something that’s easily accessible, low-cost, and of course something you derive pleasure from.
Some examples to get you going might be to read, blog, paint, sketch, write, scrapbook, knit, spend time with the family pet. What would have to happen for you to build in a 45 minute to one hour block of time in which you were free to pursue this activity? In my own case, I don’t have to get moving into my pre-work routine until 6:00 a.m. each weekday. So I have found that the 5:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. hour is a beautiful time slot to do things I enjoy. My routine is to generally get up, make a cup of tea, then write a daily blog – the one you are reading now. The fire is one this morning, and the house is in complete silence other than the tick tick tick of the clock which is magnified in the silence.
When you set aside and commit to a block of time that’s entirely yours to do with what YOU want, you look forward to it. When you’re in those moments, you become pre-occupied with nothing more than what you are doing usually. That book truly does whisk you away to wherever it takes place, the sketching is more rewarding because you get immersed in it and start to feel the flow of the illustration clearer and deeper. And as these thoughts come into your head and occupy your thoughts, the stresses of the job search or work ebb out for a while.
Like anything else, the more you do commit to this time period, the better you become at getting to your happy place faster. You could find initially that dedicating yourself to a time slot that’s yours and yours alone might seem weird to others in the house. For those 45 minutes or 1 whole hour a day, you’re all about you. You’re unavailable except in a crisis; and a crisis isn’t a plaintive call from your teenager saying, “There’s nothing to eat!”
I know of one woman who gets up much like myself and cooks. The kitchen is far enough removed from bedrooms that the noises she makes are not disturbing, and instead of feeling rushed and HAVING to cook when hungry people cry out for dinner, she derives more enjoyment from WANTING to cook. That early morning time is when she can experiment, check recipes in a cookbook, freeze items for the future, put the evening meal in a slow cooker, etc. And not only does she enjoy this time, it pays dividends again later in the day when she is on the way home and not stressing about what to prepare, especially if the day was taxing and she’s tired. So mealtime is more about getting together and enjoying the mealtime than an act of labour.
What you do and when you do it is entirely up to you. You not only deserve this time on a daily basis, I’d argue you need it. Everyone needs to recharge, refocus and balance all the must-do’s in a day with some want-to-do’s. It’s much healthier for starters on both a physical and mental level. I bet you may not be aware how much of a physical strain it can be to constantly be only responding all day instead of initiating. When your day is spent doing what you have to without a little bit of what you want to, you feel less in control. Take back some control; like a gift you give yourself.
If you set aside this time, others may find you more pleasant, happier, less prone to be on edge. So do them but more importantly yourself a favour and commit yourself to some ‘me’ time each day.