Our society is only becoming busier and busier — we’re working longer hours and taking on more responsibility in our lives. Now that we are more connected than ever through internet and phones, it’s easier for our work lives to spill over into our personal lives.
On top of our ever-increasing work demands, our relationships compete with our work lives for attention. Time spent with aging family members and listening to our friends’ problems and giving advice are just a few examples of the emotional needs we attend to in our lives. It’s helpful to think about this part of our lives in terms of emotional labor. It’s the work we do in showing up with our emotional side to support people in our lives (whether we enjoy it or not).
Doing overtime on emotional labor can take a toll on us just like overtime at work. We know the first thing we do after feeling overworked is to take a break and cut loose with friends, but what do you do when you’re feeling total emotional exhaustion? Personal time is when we replenish ourselves so we can feel fresh each day – here’s how.
Schedule your me-time in advance: If you’re prone to overworking or planning too many social activities, schedule the time you’ll take care of your emotional health before the fact or you’ll likely keep putting it off in favor of getting just a little more done. Try a Sunday restorative ritual — every Sunday, dedicate the day to taking a break and enjoying your hobbies or favorite ways to have fun.
Pick easy-going activities: Sometimes we just need to zone out and let ourselves forget about things for a while. Pick some comedies to watch or have a spa afternoon to let yourself disconnect from the emotional pull for a bit.
Do something meditative: Many activities can have a meditative quality if they take you out of your head and let you focus on something else. Sometimes switching up our focus is precisely the antidote we need for emotional exhaustion. Yoga, swimming, cooking, and reading are some ways to take yourself out of your head for a while and restore your emotional health.
Emotional health is just as vital to a well balanced and fulfilling life as physical health. Don’t forget to take the time to keep emotional exhaustion at bay so you can keep giving your all to what matters.