By Laura Collins
I’m not really sure when and how my calendar got so full. Between birthday dinners, concerts, work events, and date nights, I had a social commitment almost every evening after work, and the weekends weren’t looking too free either. Somehow, little by little, I managed to fill up every hour of my free time, and my calendar had me wishing I could spend more time dancing in my living room than in a bar.
Social outings are fun, but an overload of them began to cause me stress and anxiety as I worked to donate time to everyone but me.
I have a hard time saying no to things. Wine nights with friends? Fun! Dinner with coworkers? Fun! Dancing to music on a Tuesday night? Fun! I’m in for it all. In the planning moment, I get a high. It’s not until I’ve hit two weeks in a row with no spare time that the low finally comes.
It was time to take action.
Here are my tips to help reduce social burnout and put a little more emphasis on down time.
Needing to fit in that run or yoga class? Why not do so while catching up with a friend? Go for a run together and then catch up over a quick coffee. Two birds. One stone.
Schedule in me time
If you’re like me, you wouldn’t survive without your calendar. So start physically scheduling in down time. My boyfriend and I started doing this with date nights, making sure we didn’t go weeks without quality time, and I’ve now extended it to scheduling in time for myself, and committing to it. It’s there, in the calendar, so you’re not allowed to schedule over it.
Just say no
This one is easier said than done, especially if you suffer from FOMO. But it’s a necessary skill to learn, and you’ll feel a rush of satisfaction when you do it. I decided one Friday to just say no to any commitment that came my way. There were work drinks happening. I said no. A couple other friends invited my boyfriend and I out to a bar. I said he was welcome to go, but I was staying home. I bought a bottle of wine, put on some music, and did what makes me happy, clean. I needed a night where I wasn’t tied to anything but me and it was the best night that week.
Like, real relaxation time. Schedule yourself a massage, a mani-pedi, or head to a meditation class. Whatever your jam, take this time for yourself, to re-connect. I recently started going back to relaxation yoga classes and am loving the full hour of no chit chat. Just me, my mat, and some sleepy savasanas.
Put away the phone
Now if someone who runs social media for work can do this, you can too. Take an hour any evening you can to put away your phone and disconnect from the digital world. Those texts, emails, tweets, and Instagram likes can wait.
Take off. Literally.
Solo trips are truly the best. There’s something great in discovering a new place on your own that will leave you empowered. My favourite trip to date is when I waved goodbye to my family and boarded a plane headed for Iceland. If you’re feeling like your calendar is doing overtime, ditch it all, and take off, even for a weekend.
Work, life and social balance is the key to a healthy mind and healthy lifestyle. Give me a call if you’ve been able to master it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Coffee in, let’s say, five weeks?
Laura Collins likes people watching from coffee shop windows, drinking wine when she’s forced to cook, and is sure to be caught skipping from meeting to meeting while at work.