What do you do for yourself?

Now, I should probably back up and explain how my doctor got to this question. It was preceded by this series of queries:

  • “What do you do for a living?” Well, I work in advertising.
  • “What time do you get to work?” I’ve been trying to get to the office between 7:30 and 8:00.
  • “What time do you leave?” Lately I’ve been leaving around 6:00ish.
  • “That’s a 10-hour day.” Yes, it is.
  • “What are you doing when you leave here?” I’ve got some work to get done, since I left early.

And then she paused before asking the big one…”What do you do for yourself? Painting? Spending time with friends? Bowling? Do you do anything?”

Well, I try.

The true fact is, she hit on a question I’ve been asking myself for months. While it’s not like I work every single hour of the day, when I’m not doing work, I’m probably thinking about work. I don’t do a lot for fun or inspiration. When I get home at 6:30 or later, the last thing I want to do is go out again. The boy and I usually just make dinner and then we settle in for some time in front of the tube before heading to bed. Not exactly the most thrilling of lives.

Now, I know why she asked the question – I fully understand that doing something for yourself, outside of work, is good for your personal life and your career. If I had something else to focus on, even if it’s just for a few hours a week, I think it would help. After all, I do fear the dreaded b-word – burnout – just as much as the next person.

The last few weekends, we’ve been trying to get out of the apartment and do something fun one day and then chill out the other day. A few weeks ago, we went to the Minneapolis Science Museum. Last week, we went to see a movie. I’ve been trying to go to yoga or cardio kickboxing at least once a week. It’s a start, but there’s still a ways to go.

We’re in the process of moving a little ways out of the city and I’m thinking it might be a prime opportunity to get back to some of the things that used to get me excited – volunteering with FFA and 4-H. Since we’ll be in a smaller town, I’m also looking forward to potentially finding some community causes that I can get involved with. While being in a more rural area can mean less access to activity options, I think there will be more options for things that I’m interested in.

What are other ideas for activities to get involved with in a smaller  community? How do you keep life from becoming all about work? I know it’s something young professionals struggle with just as much as anyone, since we’re still trying to “prove ourselves”, but for long-term happiness (and sanity) it’s something I want to start setting time aside for now.

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One thought on “What do you do for yourself?

  1. Kelly M. Rivard (@KMRivard) says:

    I’m really glad you wrote this post, Amanda. It probably sounds dramatic or cheesy, but sometimes I worry about you. (What kind of eerie Internet sister would I be if I didn’t?!)

    I’m glad this ball is rolling though! And just be sure not to turn into me…you know, the one who wants to do ALL THE THINGS so she burns herself out on her “personal time” just as much as she does work. Oy. Whoops?

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