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Responsibility is a curious thing.  As children grow, parents and teachers spend a lot of time teaching them how to grow in responsibility.  From looking after their own toys, managing their own homework, to caring for a pet or younger sibling, we recognise the importance of instilling a sense of care for something or someone else.  The more mature the child, the more responsibility can be given. 

OAI5090The positive feedback loop from responsibility can lead to more skills and growth in maturity, which can in turn result in more trust given.  This kind of responsibility is seen as a healthy and important part of our development into adulthood.

And yet, as we take on more and more responsibility in life, so the burdens we carry increase.  Some children are given too much responsibility in life, and often in therapy, we see an adult who missed out on important aspects of childhood, having had to take on significant caring responsibilities during early life.  Stress and burnout are common complaints among adults with too many things to worry about.

Over the years we can find ourselves taking on more and more responsibilities.  Our finances, our jobs, maintaining our homes, cars, caring for children, pets, elderly relatives, loved ones.  Life can easily become a juggling act, knowing that if we drop the ball on something, the knock-on impact can be significant.  The advantages of smartphones and technology can also be our curse – always being contactable, always having access to emails and messages.  Working from home can bring benefits, but we also lose the boundaries and important commutes as we transition from one role to another.

Daily Relaxation

While responsibilities are important, it is also very important that we look after our own needs and allow for regular downtime and self-care.  Exercise, healthy eating, good sleep habits, not too much caffeine or alcohol, good social support, hobbies and interests.  All these are important factors in our well-being.  While these all bring their own rewards, one aspect of self-care is some time off from responsibility.  Having times when we don’t need to be worrying about things and can instead relax and have fun is critical to our well-being.

When is the last time you laughed a good belly laugh?  When is the last time you had time for yourself when you didn’t have to be “switched on” and worrying about others?   When were you last, as an adult, able to just play?   If the only me-time you get is when you are in the bathroom or falling asleep in bed, then it’s time to think about prioritising your own needs.

Try to think of your typical day and ask yourself when you have time to relax and unwind?  It might not be possible to have long stretches of time, so perhaps even just 15 minutes of protected time to yourself is what you need.  Try writing a list of activities you find relaxing and enjoyable and see if you can plan ahead to incorporate these into your day.  Make sure some of the items on your list don’t involve staring at a screen.

Holidays and Breaks

Aside from our daily relaxation, it is also important to think about longer breaks.  For some, this will be tied to the school holidays or designated annual leave.  Others who are carers will need to seek respite opportunities.  The key thing is to take time out of our normal routines and to have a break from our usual responsibilities.  If you are a parent, take care to ensure holidays aren’t just different kinds of responsibility.  You might not be able to travel or take time out for several days, but try to find ways to change from your normal routine and enjoy some relaxation and fun.

When was the last time you had a break?  What are your holiday plans for the year ahead?  Remember that breaks don’t need to be expensive and should follow any health-related travel restrictions.  Even doing something different like spring-cleaning your home, working in the garden or moving the furniture around can bring the benefits of change. 

Why not take a few minutes to jot down some ideas that come to mind as you think about creating space and time when you can have a break from your usual responsibilities, to relax and unwind.  You will find the benefits give you more energy and focus.  What feels a luxury, might actually be a necessity.


To find out more about any of our Careers and Coaching Services, visit 
www.edinburghcoachingservices.co.uk 

We can also help with individual therapy, Employee Assistance and well-being: 
www.edinburghpsychologyservices.co.uk 
 
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Edinburgh Coaching Services:Careers & Coaching, Stress Management,
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Edinburgh Psychology Services:  CBT, Therapy, Counselling & Private Psychology,
Stress, Anxiety & Depression, Confidence Building & Self Esteem, Personal & Life Coaching

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