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Make Time for Yourself

On a railroader’s schedule, it’s often hard to plan activities in advance. Your free time may be out of sync with that of family and friends, or you may need to prioritize catching some Zzzs.

When you do have time, there are plenty of activities you can do on your own. You can enjoy many of them at any time of day, and start—and stop—them when convenient.

Participate in sports, challenge your brain, learn new skills, read a novel or non-fiction book.

Doing things you like reduces stress, benefits body and mind, and improves overall well-being.

Anywhere Activities

Exercise: Take a walk. Go for a run. Indoors, do jumping jacks, push-ups, and crunches. You don’t have to choose between exercising and enjoying other leisure activities. Stretch, jump rope, or pedal a stationary bike while watching television. Listen to music or books on tape while you work out. Explore yoga and meditation, two techniques that help reduce stress.

Get away when you can. Would a day of fishing serve as respite? Hunting with your buddies? How about a round of golf? When opportunities arise, take advantage of them. 

Take an online class. Online instruction is more flexible than that in traditional classrooms, making it more likely to fit into a railroader’s lifestyle. Would you like to know more about aquariums, bird watching, drawing, gardening, taking photos, playing poker, or woodworking? Would you like to learn to type, play the guitar, or speak another language? Search for free instructional videos on YouTube or check out Coursera for free online classes, with lectures and videos provided by noted professors at leading universities.

Keep a journal. Writing down thoughts and feelings can help ease daily worries, and remember topics you may want to discuss later with those close to you. Tuck a small notebook into your pocket or grip, and jot down whatever’s on your mind when you have time. 

At Home Activities

Improve your yard or garden. Sure, you sometimes need to cut the grass or pull weeds. You may get more pleasure out of rearranging plantings, putting in a brick or stone pathway, adding a fire pit for cookouts, or building a sandbox for the kids.

Keep a project going. Build a birdhouse, engage a child or spouse in completing a 1,000-piece puzzle, knit a sweater. Find a place to stash projects in process so they’ll be undisturbed until you return to them, yet easy to take up again.

Activities on the Go

While you commute, listen to music, audio books, or podcasts. Or just use the quiet time to think about whatever matters currently are front and center in your life.

At a stoplight: In just a minute or two, you can contract and relax neck and shoulder muscles, and more. Make a game of it. Simple stretches can help you unwind after work, too.

Wait time: While you wait to pick up children, friends, or family members, to see your doctor or dentist, or even to get a haircut, read or listen to music on your phone or another device. Carry a small notebook to write down reminders, or check off items on your “to do” list. Do crossword or number puzzles. Take a nap if you can.