Balancing work, meetings, relationships, family, strategizing your next move, planning the future, getting exercise and a good night’s sleep can leave you feeling stretched too thin and yearning for a vacation – by yourself. Instead of packing up your bags and heading to a deserted island (which sounds wonderful but isn’t always an option), making time for you—and you alone—can help minimize that sense of being overwhelmed. There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first. Being selfish—the right way—is about prioritizing your needs (if you don’t, who will?). This is not a bad thing, and nobody’s feelings have to get hurt; simply convey in a gentle, effective manner how important it is for you to take a breather.
Some tips on staying sane (even though others might think you’re crazy):
1. Just Say “No”: Despite being just two letters, “No” is one of the most difficult words to say and one of the most important to learn. We often stretch ourselves too thin simply by taking on too much. While it’s important to get out there, jumpstart your career and still enjoy life outside of work, it’s equally important to honor yourself and know when you’ve had enough. Do you have to go out every night? Do you have to play on every team? Can you really take on another project and still maintain a high quality of work? Stop burning the candle at both ends. Gain time and energy simply by saying “No” every now and then.
2. Be Inaccessible… Sometimes: These days, when your phone goes directly to voicemail, the person calling automatically thinks something awful has happened to you! Some people can’t fathom turning off their computer, cell phone, home phone, Blackberry or pager (some people still have them!), but it’s extremely liberating to drop off the face of the Earth every once in a while. For once, really enjoy dinner with a loved one or friend without distractions. Read a magazine or newspaper from front to back every Sunday morning over coffee without interruptions. Or if you’re really daring, don’t do anything—just enjoy the silence. Just be. And see what brilliant thoughts, ideas and answers pop into your head.
3. Shut Out The World: If you’re at work, put on your headphones or close your door. Drowning out the noise for even just a few minutes can increase your productivity and make a long work day, big project or loud coworkers more bearable. If your coworker or boss looks at you funny, just explain your need to focus on your work and reenergize for the rest of the day.