The problem of how to pass time is an eternal one. If you’re very career focussed, dealing with time outside the workplace can be difficult – you’ve made the structure of your career and working towards the next milestone in your plans the engine of your life and motivation. When you don’t have that structure and that motivation time can stretch off, apparently without end, leaving you anxious, irritable or stressed. While our current state of lockdown throws this problem into stark relief, it’s something people have been aware for a long time. Holidays, sickness, even quiet evenings can be a big challenge if you’ve invested a lot of your motivation and self-worth into the workplace.

Today we’re taking a look at how to pass time when you’re outside the structures that normally define your life.

Don’t Do Nothing

As with exercise, it can be difficult to go from full exertion to a complete stop. Forcing yourself to do nothing when you want to achieve, to be active and tick things off a to do list can feel like torture! It’s also the opposite of relaxing and de-stressing, which is what you need to do.

Rather than considering that the opposite of working is ‘not working’, try to reframe your options. Relaxation can come by finding meaningful work to do that isn’t career focussed!

Working With Your Hands

If you’re looking for a pastime that’s rewarding, meditative and relaxing, then a hobby that involves simple physical work can be a good option. Many people find gardening a source of solace and meaningful work outside the office, and it comes with built in ambitions and achievements: you plan the planting you intend for the spring, work to prepare the ground and then care for the plants until they bloom or fruit in the summer and autumn.

Crafting hobbies can be another great way to relax, as they focus you on the technical, repetitive actions needed to create each item, and give you the satisfying feeling of learning a new skill – one that’s entirely for you, rather than at the service of your career.

Structuring Your Time

As time stretches ahead of you, the lack of structure is as much a problem as the lack of things to work on. Using a hobby to structure your time can be a boon to your mental health.

If you opt for one of the monthly craft subscription boxes UK companies can deliver to your door, the structure comes built in! You get everything you need to complete a crafting project, as well as a deadline giving you something to work towards as well as anticipating the next project in your subscription.