Focusing on goals and achievements are great ways to get ahead in your work or personal life, but it’s important not to let your mental and emotional health fall by the wayside. Taking the time to nurture yourself is vital for your wellbeing and will keep you performing at your peak in the long-term. This month, we have four time out tips to include into your day-to-day life.

Schedule your leisure time – and stick to it!

When we get busy juggling duties in the workplace and at home, taking the time to care for our emotional or mental wellbeing is often sacrificed. The commitment to looking after yourself isn’t a one-time affair but a constant practice that may have to be enforced with yourself and to those around you. By giving yourself permission to schedule time out, you won’t just guarantee a spot in your calendar for relaxation but you will reinforce to yourself (and others) the value of caring for your emotional, mental and physical health. Even scheduling 30 minutes to take a scenic walk, signing up to a weekly yoga or fitness class or spending an hour before bed to devote to that book sitting on your bedside table can make a big difference. Scheduling leisure time doesn’t have to be a lonesome affair, you can even schedule intimate breakfast or morning coffee talks with your partner or best friend.

Reclaim your creative impulse

PaintingBeing creative doesn’t mean enrolling into a three-year degree to write like Hemmingway or paint like Picasso, but creativity can be expressed in various small ways and can have a positive impact in your personal and professional life. Reclaiming your creative impulse can be as simple as playing around with flavours and spices, or as practical as taking a trip to Bunnings to start a resin table project. The creative impulse can even be trying out fun activities with the family like picking a random letter and dining at a restaurant that starts with that letter. Reclaiming your creativity can also be giving in to the desire to try new, fun and expressive hobbies such as drawing, writing, performing arts or dance. Reclaiming your creative impulse not only lifts your mood but can help make you a better worker, leader, parent and student.

Mix up your routine

Having a familiar routine gives us a sense of predictability, control and safety but it can also be stagnant and boring. Mixing up your routine can bring a much-needed sense of play into your daily life. Some ideas on mixing up your routine can be making breakfast food for dinner with the kids, learning new cooking techniques, watching a movie on a Saturday morning or even going to the cinema by yourself. Mix up your evening routine with a family games night or trust your spontaneous inner-voice and see how that makes you feel afterwards (you can even set aside some time to allow your spontaneous side to emerge). If you want ideas on how to mix up your routine, try to remember the topics, interests or hobbies that caught your eye before you told yourself the 101 reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t try, and say ‘yes’ for a change.

Switch off!

Social media_SquareFor those of us who live with our fingers wrapped around our smartphones or whose mind’s constantly running through tomorrow’s task list, this may be the hardest (and daring!) challenge of them all. Switching off to some might mean physically setting their phone to Do Not Disturb or turning off work notifications for a set duration, but to others it might also mean psychologically detaching yourself by practising mindfulness and relaxation techniques through meditation, physical activity or hobbies that allow you to concentrate on the task at hand.

Music can also be a powerful way to shift the focus of your attention, so coming up with a playlist with new and well-loved tracks can get you bouncing, swaying or head banging.

Whatever method you choose to engage, switching off is an important way to keep you happy, healthy and better focused for work the next day. If you’re looking for inspiration, why not treat yourself to one of our short courses?

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