Hilary Duff is gracing the cover of Redbook's April issue, and she has a lot to say about finding that infamous balance between work, family (including being a single mom to her 5-year-old son Luca) and time for herself.
"As I get older, I feel more comfortable 'leaning out,'" she said. "I don't need to cram every day full, because I can and because I'm capable. I have worked my whole life."
While it's true that Duff has been earning a paycheck ever since the ripe age of 6 years old, her statement is something we all should take to heart.
Just because we can do something, does it mean we should? Of course not. Sometimes it's better to do something you enjoy rather than squeezing in those last few errands on your to-do list.
For Duff, allowing herself some free time in her schedule goes a long way in staying sane — especially on top of the "mom guilt" that she's all too familiar with.
"I always feel torn or guilty about something. I'm not working right now, and at first I stressed about that, like, 'Oh, I shouldn't stay still this long.' And that's ridiculous. I have a child; it's totally fine to not be slammed all the time. It feels really good to not be on someone else's schedule."
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While not all of us can afford not to work year round, there is still value in Duff's words: "It's totally fine to not be slammed all the time."
Manfred Kets de Vries, INSEAD professor of leadership development and organizational change, says that while downtime is important, it's never really been acceptable in our society.
"We associate it with irresponsibility, wasting our life. Most of us feel guilty if we don't have something to do," he writes.
But if we are constantly staying late at work, running errands, checking email, cleaning the house, etc., we're hurting our relationships and mental health.
"The danger is we may lose our connections, not just with one another but with ourselves," Kets de Vries says. "If we don't allow ourselves periods of uninterrupted, freely associated thought then personal growth, insight and creativity are less likely to emerge."
So next time you're feeling guilty for catching up on your favorite TV show or hitting the gym for your favorite workout class when that to-do list is looming in the back of your mind, remember that "leaning out" and taking more time for yourself is more important than our society gives it credit for.
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[H/T: Instagram / @hilaryduff]