The full-time grind is not good for our health

I love my new job.

It feels like the most like “me” out of every job I’ve ever had.

I’m so glad I decided to return to full-time work in 2024. There are so many benefits!

  • My work and our organizational mission inspire me
  • This is the best team I’ve ever been a part of; my new boss and coworkers are amazing
  • Plus, having a full-time income again is very nice – especially in these expensive times.

Then there’s the fact that my little fam has stepped up in ways that are good for all of us. E and Z are helping me so much with this lifestyle adjustment. They also truly seem to appreciate me more now that I’m not here two days a week.

I enjoy my two downtown days – it feels like I’m more connected with the larger Columbus community again. And, of course, it’s been fun getting to experience what post-Covid hybrid office/remote work is like. Honestly, it’s amazing – better than I ever could have hoped for.

But, of course, as with anything in life, there’s a downside.

For four years, ever since starting my own business in 2020, I’ve had ultimate flexibility and freedom. I’ve only worked part-time and, as a result, I was able to have a full and robust life outside of work.

It was the perfect combination: I had fulfilling part-time work and a wonderful world of free time. I was able to be there for Z in ways I never could have with a full-time job. It honestly felt like a dream.

I had more time to write, think, work on household chores, spend quality time with the kiddo, see friends, walk the dogs, get out in nature, explore, learn a language, volunteer, experiment with new hobbies and so much more. I moved my body so much more then! Now, I’m sitting nearly all day for five days straight.

I have so much less free time now that I’m back to real life! My time off is limited to evenings and weekends again. I don’t know about you, but that barely seems like enough time to spend with my family, let alone squeeze in time with friends every now and then.

During my four years of working part-time, my little bestie got used to having me at her beck and call. She knew that if she had a crisis or she just felt like doing something fun, I’d be there to take her out or make her some comfort food.

Likewise, my adult bestie and I had gotten into some pretty fun habits, like doing all our household errands together. We’d grocery shop and get our to-do lists crossed off while also chatting and laughing the entire time. Plus, we got to hit the stores during the workday when they aren’t as crowded.

Now, we can only go together on the weekends, which is when everyone else is out shopping. Everything is more crowded and takes longer. Plus it’s tough to get a good sample at Costco without waiting in line!

Five evenings a week at home may seem like a lot, but it’s really not. Once you add in my monthly board meetings, volunteer work and routine appointments like therapy, plus any appointments or activities Z might have, the evenings fill up and fly by all too quickly. It’s hard to find a night for family time.

Weekends are so, so precious now. I want to fit a whole week’s worth of fun activities into every weekend… and yet, there are household chores and I also want to rest more now than I ever did before.

The American work week is utterly exhausting!

Having the perspective of someone who broke free from the 9 to 5 grind for several years – but then returned to it – is very interesting. It gives me an outsider’s perspective of this capitalist, work-focused lifestyle. It makes me realize how much happier and healthier people can be when their entire life doesn’t revolve around work.

Imagine if your days could have some work in them, but also some movement and play… some learning… some time out in nature… some social interaction… and some rest. It certainly felt like a healthier way to live, both mentally and physically.

I don’t know what the answer is. Most of us can barely afford to support ourselves with a full-time job, so dropping down to part-time really isn’t a feasible option for many people.

But wow, there were so many benefits to working less and living more. I guess that’s something to look forward to in retirement.

I love the job I have now and don’t foresee me wanting to give it up anytime soon. And I’m so glad I got to experience the joys of part-time life for a few years, right when Z needed me there the most!

Truly, how lucky I am.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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