What to do with your free time when you get your work-life relationship back in balance?
This is an excellent question, and one that isn’t talked about enough. Especially because it is a natural occurrence.
Natural in a couple of ways.
First it was traditional to find yourself with free time when it you experienced an empty nest, and it raised the question what will you do when you are left with only yourself for company?
For some who worked, they worked more, for some who didn’t work they found work to do. Work can be fabulous, and I hope for you that it is, but it’s not addressing the void of what will you do when you are left with only yourself for company?
Secondly, as you move away from traditional roles and timings you move towards the era that researchers such as Gail Sheehy calls, second adulthood. You understand and are delighted to have the time, energy, and opportunities that generations before you didn’t have access to, to create this second adulthood, but really, what will you do when you are left with only yourself for company?
And finally it can also be natural to have an empty emotional bank account by the time you realise you have given all of your energy to your responsibilities and your work, you can feel tired and it’s possible to feel that blues maybe creeping up on you. It is natural to return to filling your time with work because it’s easier than dealing with what will you do when you are left with only yourself for company?
So although it’s natural, you want to know what to do with your free time when you get your work-life relationship back in balance?
Here are 7 strategies both for you, and also remind myself to do the same, and enjoy the process …
- Think back to what you loved to do as a child, when you were free to be you, when you didn’t have to fit in with your friends or you had to help around the house for pocketmoney. As a child what did you love to do? Whatever it is for you, put this back into your diary and reconnect with it. Does it still give you that feeling of being truly you? Excellent, keep doing this.
- Think back to the dreams you made with your partner. Remember how you used to be, what did you love to do? What dreams did you make? How did you see your life when the children were grown up and it was the two of you again? When finances would be more freely available? Start work on those plans, make those dreams come true.
- Enhance and upgrade your daily life. This is an excellent strategy all of the time and especially if you are experiencing tiredness as described above. Put the candles on when you get home, put on the music that makes you want to dance around your lounge, or brings you peace, whatever you enjoy. Invest in better quality everything, read excellent or trashy books, have a bath in the middle of the day, sleep in, recover your sleep bank account. When your energy bank accounts are replenished to overflowing, decide upon another strategy that speaks to you.
- Write YOUR Bucket List, not anyone else’s bucket list. Although you can research bucket list ideas for inspiration. You can pick a number for your bucket list such as 100 or 3 if that works better for you. You can start a Bucket List with one item and add to it as you uncover more to add to it, You can also cross things off if they no longer inspire you.
- If you want something more immediate you can write 18 things to do in 2018, or 19 in 2019 depending on the year of course, This can be the exact strategy as 4. Bucket List, in my experience these things are usually smaller and easily achieved within a year, do some research for inspiration and enjoy writing your list.
- This is another form of research but closer to home, ask your friends, what are they doing or are planning to do? What do you see them doing? Is there anything you think AHH I’d like that for me too? If not your friends, what about your role models and people around your (physically or virtually), who inspires you? And what are they doing? You are not in school anymore, this is not copying or cheating, this is market research.
- Write a list of 6 month hobbies. You don’t have to write a perfect list, you just have to start, the power of this step is in the starting. For example, a book club, a flower arranging class, photography, kayaking, fusion cuisine, think the movie Julia and Julia. See what is on offer at your local college for evening classes, or what is going on at meetup.com. Undertake a hobby for 6 months, it is long enough to give you the hobby a fair chance and get over frustration at learning something new, it also allows you to invest in the basics without breaking the bank. You never know, the first thing you learn may be the thing that brings you the most joy and you never move to anything else on your list.
Most importantly enjoy the process.
Experiment with it and what brings you joy, say no to what does not make you happy.
Although you have asked your friends and looked up to your idols in the strategies for you, you are not responsible to them. What other people think of how you spend your time is none of their business. Don’t do anything you think you should do, do only what you want to do.
Don’t do anything perfectly and do everything courageously.
Do step fully into being you.
I wish you every success
Love Karen xx