Just over one month ago my partner and I bought a house and moved from the Redlands to the inner city. So far it has been amazing – everything seems within walking distance, we are closer to friends and family, and now my commute to work only takes 30 minutes as opposed to the 90 minutes which it used to take. Now the long commute that I used to have never bothered me too much, but I won’t lie in saying that saving two hours a day of travel time is brilliant. Going from sitting in traffic on a daily basis, to a quick City Cat trip has been a big change for the better, but in doing this I’ve realised something that I never once paid attention to previously.
I’ve lost the time to detach from work each day and relax before getting home.
Now before getting into this further, I will preface this by saying I know others may be busier at work, and that my home life only consists of me and my partner, not kids, pets or anything else that adds an extra layer of complexity. Regardless, I found myself being increasingly tired by the time I arrived home each day, and after a few weeks of reflecting on this, I realised that the reason stemmed to no longer spending an extra hour each day just by myself.
Here lies the importance of having time to yourself.
With this being a relatively novel concept to me, I asked some of my colleagues what they do to detach from work and found there was an overwhelming consensus that ‘Switching Off’ shouldn’t be a structured process, but a natural transition between tasks while still finding time to yourself. For some this was sport or gym, for others it was meditation, others relaxed by reading or taking their dog for a walk. There was a huge variety of ways that everyone relaxed and took time out for themselves, but the common thread was the natural occurrence of this. What stuck with me was, “If you’re too structured on having set time to Switch Off, you never really Switch Off”.
There are always going to be times at work where you are expected to run at full capacity for a prolonged period. This can potentially hinder any structure that you have around taking time out for yourself, but if this is a natural occurrence being through sport, reading, meditation of any other means, you can still find that time to relax.
For me, this means that although I have lost the naturally occurring transition between work and home with the longer commute, finding what’s important to me can help me rediscover switching off. The thing I learnt from speaking to my colleagues is that everyone is unique in what helps them relax, and that there is no universal way to balance work and life. While this is an increasingly sought after feature in the workplace, the idea of work/life balance changes for every person. Understanding what this means and what is important to you as an individual can help in finding that much needed time to relax.
What works for you?