The importance of one free day per week

This is an era where we mostly talk about productivity, getting the best results and working hard. And we love reading and talking about these subjects. Because this is what everyone else does. We have to become productive, we have to be promoted, we have to work the hell out of us to be observed, to be appreciated. Well, this is how things work. And don’t get me wrong. There’s no problem with working hard, with trying to be as productive as possible, with getting the best results out of your work. This is in fact the way we can measure progress. It’s all fine. However, working the hell out of you while forgetting how to take care of yourself… are you sure about that? Well, I’m not.

I am the type of person who doesn’t like to do something because she has to. Thus I actually get quite unproductive when I do something because I HAVE to. That could be because when I have to do something, I have to force myself to find external motivation to make it work. When I do something because I want it, because I like it, the motivation is internal and it doesn’t feel like work. So yeah, you could say I don’t like work :)) and boy, I get stuck at work so often.

I often feel like we work almost all our life and we have less time to enjoy it. Work is what we sometimes talk about after work when we meet with friends over drinks to forget about work actually. How ironic, right? Work is what we do almost all our life. I myself learned so hard until now just to get a good job. While I am proud I did it, it didn’t make me as happy as I thought I would be. What makes me happy is actually the time I disconnect and forget about work. It’s not that I hate my job or working in particular, I just love more the time I can do the things that I like. Well, I guess this is valid for almost everybody.

In my case, as it wasn’t already enough to deal with a full-time job during the week, I worked also part-time, if I can call it like that, as a tutor during the weekend. I also had a small part-time for 2 years during the week as a teacher, which I think exhausted me. Being a teacher is great and I also found friends while teaching. I did it because I loved it and I wanted to have more experience, but I neglected myself in the process because I didn’t really have the time for it. I guess I overworked myself. The result was a me tired all the time, always busy and stressed. The worst thing was that I was getting tired by the things I enjoyed. This is something I try to be careful of. Therefore I decided to stop getting involved in so many projects and start making time to take care of myself. This is how I thought of establishing the one free day a week.

You might think that one free day per week is not much, but trust me, it works wonders. I usually take that day on Sunday. Sunday is my day and I do whatever I want with that time. I like to do activities for my mental and physical health like meditation, journaling or walking. I also like to relax while listening to music or watching my favorite Korean series. I put a lot of effort in preparing breakfast and coffee for me an my family as my effort to give a good vibe to others and to myself. But what I love the most is the care I give to my skin and to my mind. Sunday is the day I become the VVIP in my life. I am extremely lucky to have a talented sister who does my hair, who gives the best relaxing massage, who does my manicure and my pedicure. On Sundays I become prettier and calmer. This free day is the treat I give to myself after a hard week, and it also helps me start my week with less stress and less worries.

It’s important to work and to improve ourselves, but I think it’s even more important to know when to stop so we can take care of ourselves. Being an active part of this rat race is not something we can be proud of. However, getting to learn how to escape from the rat race is way cooler and you can show off with your skills of nurturing yourself.

What about you? Do you have a day only for yourself? Or maybe you have other methods to relax that you can share with me? I’m curious to learn other ways of slowing down and taking care of ourselves. Let’s talk in the comments.

As always stay healthy and positive and I’ll see you around.

My rules to keep work-life balance while working from home

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Spending most of my time at home was never too much of a problem for me. In fact I enjoyed spending time alone at home and I still am the same introvert who prefers cozy and quiet atmospheres while enjoying my favorite activities.

When I started working from home I wasn’t affected as people thought I would be. Even if I sometimes miss interactions and working with people, I still believe that work from home is exactly my style. I like working from home because I can still make my own rules. I can wear whatever clothes I want or I can work in my pyjamas if I feel like it. I can sleep a little bit more and still keep a routine. I can work and still look out the window to check the beautiful sky or to see if the mountain is in holyday (this is how my sister and I joke about it when there is too much fog and we can’t see the mountain from our bedroom’s window). During breaks I can eat whatever I find in the fridge or the food my sister cooks for me. I love everything about these small habits that make work more bearable.

I have to admit though that it wasn’t like this from the beginning. It took me a while until I discovered what works for me and how I can enjoy working from home. Also, I still have moments when I get extremely bored, not because I don’t have anything to do, but because I work alone in a room for about 8 hours. Another problem I have to face sometimes when working from home is work-related stress and the fact that it is more difficult to disconnect because I live with my work in the same house. This is why it is so important to find little strategies to help us cope with working from home and even like it. So here are my tips to keep the work-life balance when working from home and why not, enjoy it:

1. Keep a routine. Since I have started working from home I have struggled a lot with finding balance between work and personal life. Now I have an experience of two years in work from home and I can say that starting a routine is a life saver. By routine I mean mainly waking up at the same hour, which means that going to bed at almost the same hour is an imperative. I wake up at 7am and I usually start working at 7:40. Until then I wash myself, I change my clothes, I apply face cream etc. And this is what I do every morning. I made a habit of not snoozing my alarm and I get up as soon as I wake up. Also, I try to maintain the same routine in the weekends as well in order to make of this routine a lifestyle that can make my life easier while working from home. However, I have one exception for the weekends: I allow myself to sleep in.

2. Take regular breaks. I can’t stress enough the importance of taking breaks. It’s good for our eyes, for our brain, for our spine and for our overall mood. When I am in my break time, I try not to use my phone too much in order to relax my eyes. Instead of using my phone I like to talk with my sister and to have a good laugh if possible.

3. Don’t skip breakfast and lunch. This aspect is extremely important to me. I can’t even imagine working without eating my breakfast and lunch. This is how I make sure I am productive while taking care of my health. Also I tend to become grumpy when I’m hungry and I am sure I don’t want to make a scene at work because I skipped a meal :))

4. Tidy work space. I like to keep my desk clutter free and I try to tidy it every day, after I finish work. I also try to organize my desk as simply as possible in order to avoid distractions.

5. Disconnect completely. This is my favorite. When I turn off my computer I try to disconnect completely from work until the next day. Thus when my program ends, I try not to think about work and not to talk about it even if it’s just complaining about how hard my day was in order to focus on myself and my personal activities. I try to avoid as much as possible thoughts like: tomorrow I have to work again and to focus on me and on what I am doing at that specific moment.

These are the most important rules I have in order to keep myself organized, productive and maintain a good work life balance. They come so naturally for me that I don’t even struggle. They are that helpful to me. I know it can be difficult to work from home especially when you don’t have a choice but it’s in most of the cases imposed. Just think that you can work, keep yourself healthy and you can even wear those lovely pyjamas you feel so comfy in while working. Stay positive. Stay healthy and I’ll see you around.

Productivity vs. slow living

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Living a slow paced life is often seen as the opposite of productivity. I think it is because slow is often seen as doing nothing. But this is far from the truth and it took me a while to realize this.

Actually I used to believe the same thing. Rather than a prejudice I think I was afraid of not doing my best, afraid of being unproductive. Also, what brought me closer to my idea of slow paced life is the continuous fatigue that almost ruined my health, not a high level of productivity that you might think I had, while reading this. I realized only later that even if I was exhausted, I wasn’t exactly the most productive person. This is very close related to the principles of prioritization and time-management. Stress management and mental health care are also very important pieces in this puzzle. I used to do things the wrong way, but at least I know it now and I am trying to fix things.

I talked before here about the importance of journaling in my life and how this practice helped me understand and know myself better. I am a to-do-list person since I was young. I loved having long lists about anything and I thought that keeping myself busy would only bring me benefits. Little I knew about the truth. Long lists and the pressure I put on myself only harmed my physical and mental health.

Today I am the same to-do-list person. The difference is that I have changed my mindset and my approach. Today I write better lists, with only the most important things I want to do every day.
• My lists are now shorter, and even when I put more on the list, I prioritize the most important things.
• I became more flexible and I forgive myself when I can’t finish the things on my list.
I allow myself to begin with what I am most comfortable doing first. I don’t try to get the elephant out of the room.
• I adapt my lists based on the needs I have in a certain day.
• I don’t look specifically for productivity but for self-satisfaction.

Today I believe that you can be productive while living at a slower pace. For example, if today I wanted to clean my room and I actually did it, I would be happy that I succeeded, even if on my list there was also a plan to clean the kitchen. This is also productivity in my eyes. But more than productivity, it’s my mind that is at peace because today I did something too. I receive satisfaction from doing my best every day. Also, the idea of productivity is relative and every person sees productivity in his/her own way. Thus, more important than trying to be as productive as other people are is to find what means productivity for you and to find your own way of doing it.