Last autumn, I was doing way too much. I was both studying and working, filling my schedule completely with all kinds of different tasks.

Those tasks all had some external expectations. I was either showing up to work when needed or studying to hand in assignments.

With my schedule already full, there was no time left for my own things.

For what I dreamed of doing, and only my heart desired.

Creating time for what you want and need, without external expectations, can be a big challenge.

I also realized that as I was both studying by myself and working freelance, I often worked or studied at all hours.

I wasn’t off at 5 pm. I didn’t take the weekend of either.

I was simply working or studying, all the time.

So, I decided that to be able to do my own thing, I would need to create the time for it.

I made a rule: on Sundays, I could not do anything I got paid nor graded for.

Simply by making this decision, I felt so much lighter!

And the first Sunday was magical. I had just moved into my new apartment, and I had such a long list of things I needed and wanted to do.

On that first Sunday, I painted my entire apartment.

Yes, I never said that these Sundays should be rest days. They should simply be days when I did things for me, instead of for other people.

After that Sunday, I was tired, and I was fulfilled. I had gotten a lot of work done, and I knew that without the rule, I would have spent the entire day studying.

And so it went on. I worked and studied six days a week. And on Sundays, I would do whatever I wanted.

On those days, I would listen to my heart, instead of outside obligations and expecations.

Sundays became my oasis. When times got especially tough, I’d look forward to them.

To a little me time. To all the little things I wanted to do.

Sometimes, Sundays were hard work. I’d clean and write and cook.

At other times, Sundays would be relaxing.

Either way, they would be for me.

And slowly, by allowing me to take a whole day off, I learned that it was neccessary.

I realized that the time I dedicated to work was even better used, knowing that I’d get my time off as well.

And even though I removed a whole day from the time I spent working or studying, I would still achieve the same (or even more).

I learned to take time off. And slowly, as I learned (and as times got a little less hectic), I was able to relax on other days as well. I was able to take the evening off. Or the morning.

And I found the balance between work and leisure.

I felt that I didn’t need the Sundays anymore.

Taking Sundays off taught me how to relax and take my mind off the things that I usually give all my attention.

It gave my a chance to find balance.

Now, I know that I can go on, without my Sundays off.

And at the same time, I know that as soon as I start all that hard work again, with another semester at university, I’ll start taking Sundays off as well.

It is only by taking time off, that I’ll be able to work at my full potential.

By recharging on Sundays and listening to my own heart, I’m able to power through the other days.

And to learn that life is not only work, but also play and relaxation.

How do you make time for relaxation and doing the things you just want to do, fam? Share your strategies with us!