In terms of time-structuring in Transactional Analysis, personal time plays a very important role. Activities (Work) are very demanding and also take
up a large part of the day. However even time at work is time-sliced into actual episodes of activity interspersed with withdrawal and pastimes, and occasionally, even intimacy. TA Games also play a very important part in our interactions with others and one should always be alert for them, as many of them are counter productive.
Ritual on the other hand often serves to pass time without having to think.
Personal time is more a combination of Pastime with Withdrawal or Retreat and Intimacy. Both of these ways of structuring time have a useful capacity to provide relaxation, retreat by avoiding all strokes and pastimes like intimacy provide mainly pleasurable strokes. Unlike Intimacy, however, Pastimes do not furnish unconditional strokes. Some people use a trip to ablution facilities as an opportunity for a brief and much-needed retreat, so even bodily functions can be useful in psychological terms. Pastimes are activities performed for enjoyment. When enjoyment ceases, then a pastime no longer performs this function of stress relief and parents should be careful not to over-emphasizing competitiveness in their children’s extra-mural activities..
Intimacy probably provides one of the best ways of relieving stress. Unfortunately one should not be misled, as seeming intimacy where the strokes are conditional can provide a very stressful environment, and too many relationships degenerate in this way. Pets are always less demanding than other humans in this regard – humans always tend to have some expectations of any interaction, and to have their own agenda. True Intimacy is a very rare resource, and animals can serve a valuable function in their ability to fill this need.
Networking can provide a combination of Work, Pastime and Intimacy. A night out with the boys can provide useful unconditional strokes. Networking also lets like-minded people get the practical Work benefits in an atmosphere more like that of a Pastime, as it tends to be more co-operative than competitive. In this way, networking can have the financial advantages of work with less stress. However, the social interactions involved in networking are stressful in themselves to certain individuals.
An understanding of the factors involved can help identify when a relationship is toxic, and perhaps steps can be taken to reduce this aspect of a relationship. It should be remembered that such a relationship may be caused by your own behaviour, not just others. Being able to consider such possibilities and resolve difficulties amicably is part of the process of maturing. Divorce is all too easy and seems as though it will resolve all problems, but often we carry our personal problems with us and the next relationship ends up in the same situation. This pattern can be seen in the lives of many high-profile individuals. There are few situations which cannot be resolved if both parties want to do so.