Stressed at work, messy home and out of shape? Hit the bar with a friend! 

This is typically what those who suffer from responsibility syndrome are the worst at: doing fun things even though they haven’t checked off everything on their (unrealistic) to-do list. 

A common issue among those with responsibility syndrome is that activities they used to enjoy now feel like chores. According to Swedish psychologist and author Maria Farm, this lack of enjoyment is probably due to the fact that overly responsible people are completely exhausted when they finally get around to doing something fun.

The solution is to not put off doing something fun until after you have finished all your chores, tasks and shoulds. Go home from work an hour early and take your partner out for dinner while you still have energy left, have coffee with your coworkers in the morning, before you have finished that day’s important tasks. Go to the bar with a friend when you “should” be working out. You may be perceived as a more laid back person by those around you, which in turn can contribute to making the things you used to find enjoyable fun again!

Doing something fun and relaxing in your free time is called “active recovery”. It is important to note that your mind and body need both active and passive recovery (rest, sleep, watching TV) to be able to deal with the negative effects of stress. Unfortunately, working at full steam during the weekdays and squeezing in a week’s worth of recovery during the weekend or vacation doesn’t work. Your brain and body need time for recovery several times a day, every day. If you get enough regular recovery, you will protect yourself against the negative effects of stress. 


Schedule something fun today or during the next few days. The most important thing is that you don’t do something you “should” or “have to” do. For example, it’s fine to work out if you do it because you truly enjoy it. The same goes for social situations – if you feel that seeing your friends is a good source of recovery, plan something fun with them.