That’s right! Healthy people do have hobbies. It’s really true that if you aren’t spending time investing in yourself, doing things that bring you relaxation and personal fulfillment, your emotional health is suffering, and probably so is your marriage or family life. Living in a culture that tells us we must constantly be on the go, we often skip taking care of ourselves and run ourselves ragged caring for others.
Do you take time every week for just you? You might be thinking right now, But I have this demanding job, and the kids, and my spouse…and the house! I already go to bed with so much undone, how on earth would I find time for myself? Well, you are not alone: This is the reaction a lot of people have. If it’s not your partner needing something, it’s your kids, your spouse, or the constant demands from work, friends, or family that arrive via text or email. I get it. What I am suggesting, however, is that taking care of yourself is just as important, because without self-care, we lose our enjoyment of life, lose our connection to our innermost self, and risk becoming depleted and therefore less connected to our spouse, friends, and family. We then face a great deal of potential loss of the things that are most important to us, such as our marriage or connection with our kids.
Most people think that if they’re tired and can’t get it all done, the only thing to do is keep trying. Then maybe at some point everything will be done and we’ll have time for some fun. Unfortunately this strategy, while seemingly logical, is fundamentally flawed. There will always…ALWAYS… be things that need doing. If your strategy is to put off your needs till you have time, then those needs will never be met.
The bottom line is this: Moms work too hard. Dads work too hard. Everyone works too hard. Remember when you were younger and you could hang out with friends at night, play a Saturday morning scrimmage, visit the gym three times a week, or read 30 pages of a book? Then life got busy and suddenly it seemed you were faced with the choice of either getting stuff done or meeting your needs.
To the husbands and wives, the fathers and mothers, it’s time to stop. It’s healthy for you to take time away from your responsibilities and take time for you. Just YOU. You are of greater use emotionally and physically to your family and employer when you are investing in yourself too. Nothing kills quality of life more than burnout. What are the signs you aren’t taking time for yourself? Well, I’m sure you knew the moment I asked if you get time to yourself. If you are still wondering though, here are some signs:
- It takes you longer than 5 seconds to say what your hobby is
- You are frequently tired or easily frustrated
- Your productivity is declining
- You lack motivation to engage socially
- You believe it is wrong to leave things undone
- You believe if you say no that others needs will go unmet and that’s “wrong”
Healthy people have boundaries, and it’s a good boundary to say, “I take time for myself.” Healthy people have hobbies and interests and spend time every week investing in themselves, time remembering that while they are a parent, spouse, primary caregiver, or whatever, they are an individual with needs too.
It’s up to you and only you to meet your needs. If your reason for not having a hobby is because you believe that you would let someone else down, they’d be mad, or their “thing” is important, then the relationship probably lacks equality and healthy boundaries. Your needs are just as important as the other person’s. If your spouse has a hobby, so should you. If your kid has an activity, so should you. If your spouse/parent/kids have need, so do you. So, what are you going to do this week for yourself?