Hollywood stars experience a lot of pressure to pack their schedules to the brim with multiple projects, award shows, and public appearances. But those time commitments can take a toll on family life, which is why actress Anne Hathaway is cutting back on work to spend more time with her three-year-old son, Jonathan Rosebanks.
Hathaway, who stars in The Hustle alongside Rebel Wilson, told Shape magazine that it’s become increasingly important to her to “build in breaks,” even if that means saying “no” to projects.
“Before I had my son, I sensed this pressure to fill my schedule,” she said, according to People. “If I wasn’t working, I felt like I was wasting time. Now, I know I have to build in breaks in my year, and there are times when I’m just not available to work because it’s important for me to be home with him.”
During her time off, Hathaway says she also invests more in self-care.
“So I shop a lot less. I cook a lot more. I read a lot more,” she added. “I write a lot more. I communicate a lot more. I make more time for the things that matter to me because, suddenly, I have more time.”
Hathway highlights an important point: Americans have an unhealthy relationship with “busyness.” In fact, research from the Harvard Business Review found the majority of people conflate busyness with success and self-worth, viewing those with fuller schedules as higher-status individuals, even if that means they sacrifice having a work-life balance.
In reality, though, working 16-hour days doesn’t lead to happiness. A 2015 survey from the Rand Corporation found two-thirds of Americans feel overwhelmed by deadlines and other performance expectations in the workplace, and almost half said they felt they had to work in their free time. Surprise: Setting boundaries and saying “no” can have mental health benefits and improve family relationships.
In addition to setting boundaries, Hathaway, who also serves as a U.N. Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, has made another notable life adjustment in recent months. Hathaway stopped drinking alcohol — until her son turns 18, that is. She announced the decision last October, saying that she didn’t “totally love the way” she drank and wanted to avoid future hangovers around her son.
Whether you decide to live a sober lifestyle is up to you, but all parents could benefit from following Hathaway’s lead in one way at least: by devoting more time to themselves and their families. Yes, even if that means saying “no” to some extra work.