You're a busy person, you've got things going on in your life. You're working hard during the day and grinding at night on your own projects and your relationships. You're giving a lot of yourself out into the world and you can see the rewards coming to you. But are you giving anything to yourself?
I'm not taking about buying yourself things. Anyone with money can do that. You've gotta give yourself some time. Take a day off for no reason and relax. Take a load off, man. Enjoy going outside just to go outside. We're all too quick to forget that everything we do is a distraction until we're dead. If that sounds dark, it's because it is. Nothing means anything until you give it meaning. It can be easy to get caught up in that idea that nothing means anything and become a sad nihilist, pursuing no passions because it's all pointless. However, if you look at it another way, it can be quite a fulfilling thought.
Once you realize that nothing really matters, you begin to see that there's a whole lot more freedom you have. Obviously, don't go to extremes and skip out on bills and things like that because you'd be an idiot to do that. I feel it necessary to say: apply some moderation to my advice and be reasonable.
Now back to the freedom that you have. Let's put this in an example. You're trying to edit a book you wrote before a deadline you set yourself, so you can put it out to a publisher by another date you've set yourself, but it's a really beautiful day outside. You haven't seen a day like this in a long time because the weather's been garbage and it's the first time you feel you're experiencing summer this year. Everyone at least likes the summer. So you're stuck with this conundrum. Do you relax outside with a nice cold drink, or do you spend all day inside editing and working? Here's where that freedom comes in. Treat yourself a little and go outside. Spend time with your family/friends or even spend it alone. Read, put some music on, fall asleep in the shade, get a cold drink and relax.
Give yourself a break.
Today, we're all so quick to pile on the pressure to ourselves, and others around us. It makes us miserable. Stress is a huge killer and even if it doesn't kill you outright, it causes things that do kill you. The book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma (a must read, even if it's a little grandiose at points) describes a hot shot lawyer, making hundreds of thousands per year, losing his figure, buying more and more expensive cars and houses, getting divorced, and losing his happiness. Within the first few pages, that guy has a serious heart attack in court. Almost dies. The rest of the book goes on to describe how he turned his life around by removing stress and focusing on himself more.
Here's another one: there's a myth in Silicon Valley that you've gotta work like 700-80 hour work weeks to be a success, and a decent bunch of writers who write about this shit will tell you the same thing. You've never got to stop grinding. Get up at 5 am, run 5 km, eat pure fiber and snort protein powder for breakfast, meditate, do yoga, and go to work by 5:30 am, come home at 9 pm, eat lunch etc. I'm really pleased to see that some of these people are actually realizing the flaw in their ways and are talking about resting more.
Did you know Lebron James sleeps something between 9-11 hours per day? These are some high level examples, but the big takeaway from this is that you need to rest and take breaks more often. Treat yourself a little. You're too busy to stop for gas because you need to get to your destination, but your tank is nearly empty. Meditate a little, take a day off and de-stress. There is nothing better you can do for your mind and body than to relax a little. Push your deadlines back a bit and allow for life to happen. Live more in harmony with the world by not rushing so much and allowing for things to happen. Don't force yourself to keep going in your day when you're already tired.
Here's the practical bit of the post where I give you some tips on how to put regular breaks into your day.
If you're one who really sticks to a schedule (which, wow, good for you) throw some time in there to relax. An hour a day specifically set aside to spend on yourself.
Turn your phone off
Everybody knows social media takes up too much of their time, and the studies are starting to confirm that too much of it will cause a decline in your mental health. Turn that shit off, or leave it somewhere else, and do something else. This is you time, baby. Spend it with you.
How do you actively relax? Meditate, do yoga, walk outside, walk on a treadmill, do some other light exercise, read a book, play some soft music, make some music, paint a picture, write a poem. Whatever it is that you do, do it with no goal in mind. Just do it because. If you start throwing goals around in your you time, you time just becomes more work, and that's what we're trying to avoid. Paint a picture just because you want to break out the brushes again.
Do all three of those things and I guarantee you'll be finding yourself with less stress, and more happiness. Love yourself, because in the end, nothing really matters except you.