We all take on a lot. I currently have a full-time job, am completing an apprenticeship to get certified recognition that I know what I’m doing at work, am writing this blog, have started writing a book, and begun a diploma in life coaching. That sounds quite a lot when you lay it all out. But more and more of us are taking on these extra-curricular activities. It’s like we’re all applying for UCAS points again. Why can’t we chill out?

No time to chill out

Lockdown has given us precious commute time back. Most people working from home now have an extra 2-3 hours a day at home, being able to explore things they really want to be doing that they normally wouldn’t have time for.

I think most people’s schedules are the same. You leave the house at 7.30 am to give enough time for the train to be delayed or cancelled. The train after the one that you catch is the last one that would get you in on time- risky business. So you get the one before. You need to be there early enough to make a cup of coffee and say good morning to everyone before you sit down to work, as we all know that you should already be working by 9 o’clock.

Then you work 8 and a half hours, including some of your lunch break, as that was the only time Susan could book in that meeting (bitch).

And then you leave at half 5 to get the 17.55 home which will spit you out at your station about 6.30- that’s if it’s on time, which it never is. So after delays and the walk home, it’s nearly 7.00 when you walk through the door.

You’ve been out of your house for nearly 12 hours, but you don’t get to relax yet. You need to cook and then sit to eat it, so you actually have a conversation with the people you live with.

Once that’s done it’s 8.00 and you want to be in bed by 9.30 as your alarm will be chiming at 6.30, and it takes at least 2 hours to fall asleep after reading of emails and social media feeds and Whatsapp group chats.

So you have 8 until 9.30 to do what you want- which is, of course, chill out. That’s what reality TV was made for. When we’re on the go all the time we need something we don’t have to think about in-between cleaning the house, and putting a wash on etc.

Using time

But now that we have this extra couple of hours a day there is a lot of pressure to utilise this time. To always move and work towards your goals. Our social feeds are full of people completing online courses, doing craft projects with the kids, and maps of their running. It makes people feel guilty about sitting and doing nothing, and that’s rubbish. If you want to spend every evening watching Real Housewives- go ahead and do that.

We’ve forgotten how to chill out so they can sell us apps to help us with it. Doing nothing is only deemed acceptable now if it’s classed as something. It has to be mindfulness, or meditation, or purposeful breathing (seriously, that’s a thing). But this is just doing nothing dressed up in fancy clothes. You can achieve a zen sense of calm doing whatever makes you relax. Listening to music, reading a book, watching crappy television, gaming, whatever you want.

Just chill out

We had it right in the 90s- have a break, have a KitKat. Give yourself time to relax, without worrying about all the things you’re not doing. Because doing nothing is doing something. It’s spending time looking after your well being. Ensuring that you’re not working towards a total burnout. So allow yourself that time to chill out. Maybe then we’ll remember how to sleep again.