How we spend our time off is one of the most important elements to a happy and productive life.
Even if you love your job, having something of your own aside from this is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle.
Depending on the activities we partake in, we may be fortunate enough to regularly induce the release of endorphins and other hormones such as serotonin and dopamine.
These have a positive effect on our wellbeing and state of mind, and encourage positive behaviour, in turn making us more productive in both our professional and personal lives.
This can help to lower our stress levels and of course enhance our performance. There are various ways that we can take advantage of our body’s ability to provide natural highs.
I have a few ways in which I like to spend my time off.
I like to exercise regularly, which not only keeps me physically fit and ready to tackle the demands of the job, but helps me to maintain my health and physical wellbeing with a view to later in life.
I also love to surf. I have a love for the sea and find it an incredibly relaxing environment and source of escapism. It’s something I started much later than I intended to as it simply took me longer to get round to it than I anticipated. I don’t regret this, because regret is waste of energy, but I would encourage anyone who is thinking of taking up a particular pursuit not to wait.
Use your time and use it now.
I enjoy reading, both fiction and non-fiction, with some recommendations being Tribe by Sebastian Junger, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, Finding John by Andrew Serra, Breath by Tim Winton.
The list goes on but I wanted to include a few of my favourites that have not only inspired contemplation in me, but provided me with a form of escapism from day to day life.
As well as reading, I also listen to podcasts. Occasionally I will listen to one before I go to sleep, but I mostly listen to these in the car on my way to and from work or when I have a long drive.
Some of my favourites are Behind The Shield, Surf Mastery, Jocko Podcast, Warrior Kid Podcast. With the exception of Surf Mastery, of which I feel the content is obvious, these offer some food for thought and motivation for members of the first responder community.
No matter what your interests are, there will most likely be an infinite supply of inspiration out there just waiting for you to tap into.
Whatever it is you’re not doing that you wish you were, go after it, absorb it, and make it yours. It’s healthy to have a goal, something to aim for, even if we never reach it. It keeps us driving and pushing forwards, promoting growth and personal development.
Without it, are we really living the life we have ahead of us? Whatever your goal is, whether it be to read a whole book without putting it down, run a marathon, or make your first application to the fire service, don’t lose sight of it.
Remember that your future is up to you, but at the same time, it is only what you decide to make it.
“Embed that long-term goal in your mind. Burn it into your soul. Think about, write about it, talk about it. Hang it up on your wall. But most important: Do something about it. Every day. Every day: Do something that moves you toward that goal – that keeps that goal alive and in sight and in focus.”