How many of us have forgotten what we used to do for fun when we were kids? Our calendars used to be filled with things that filled our soul–artistic hobbies, music, sports, after school activities. And now?
Well, life happened, and if you’re like me, your time has been spent working towards professional goals, or just dealing with the hand that life has dealt you. Somewhere along the way, we replaced hobbies with studying and dealing with random stuff and those passionate pursuits fell to the wayside to make time for sleep and “catching up” with life.
As we all know and hear, work-life balance is important to living a life that’s sustainable. All work and no play can lead to misery and depression and burnout. So this step is focused on putting some life back into your work-life balance routine.
What Does Work-Life Balance Even Mean?
It’s whatever balance means to YOU. Whatever you need to do to make you feel like you are able to handle your everyday stressors in a way that is healthy and effective. Balance can involve your physical, emotional and mental health. Being balanced, the way I see it, means that you are coping well with work and personal issues and have healthy ways of de-stressing when the need arises. Plus, you’re making time to do those things that fill your soul and make you happy.
For instance, I have friends who go running outside in sub zero temperatures for fun (seriously, WHY); others who go the salon weekly for their hair and nails; others who see a therapist regularly; another who travels every month; and yet another isolates herself when she’s super stressed, as doing so helps her regain perspective without outside noise.
For each person above, those activities help them release tension, reminds them of what’s important and helps them figure things out e.g.: their next move at work, or how to respond to a co-worker, or make a decision that’s plaguing them.
So, How Do You Know What Will Work For You?
You have to know yourself
Ah, taking it back to Step 1: Know Thyself. You have to remember who you are outside of work and outside of your relationships. I’d say take yourself way back to the basics when you were a kid and life was simple. Ask yourself these questions:
- What did you do for fun?
- What kind of kid were you?
- Did you like sports?
- Were you artistic?
Obviously you have grown up, and interests can change over time, but I bet there’s a part of you that still likes some of the same things that you did as a kid. So start there.
Personally, I was the tomboy who loved soccer and tennis, played outside every chance I got and loved being with my friends; plus I was a self-certified bookworm. I was terrible at art and didn’t have the patience for learning a musical instrument. Using information like this, I can say ok, let me start with these pursuits and see what happens.
Look around at what you already have
Another avenue you can pursue, as I talked about in Step 3 Be Grateful, is to find what you’re grateful for in each day and try to make more time for it and infuse more of those things into your routine.
Keep your time off empty
We have a tendency to fill our weekends off and vacations up with activities. While that’s great, and if you know exactly what you need to do in order to regain your balance, then by all means, go for it.
However, if you struggle to figure out how to spend your time in a meaningful and relaxing way that will help you reset, then keep your time off empty. Use that time to explore your options; allow yourself to get bored and then see what inspiration comes to you during that time.
How Do You Ensure You Follow Through?
Pay for it.
Schedule classes formally. Purchase subscriptions or memberships. It’s human nature to follow through with something if we’ve paid for it.
Involve your friends and family so that you have to be accountable. Tell them what you’re up to, what you’ve decided to try. Invite them along to join you.
On the same note, you can hold yourself accountable. For instance, you skipped out on your tennis lesson? No dessert for you.
Remind yourself that life is short.
We always think we have all the time in the world to do things we want to do. It’s easy to push stuff off till later; however, life is happening now. If you don’t take advantage of the time you have now, your youth, your energy, then it will pass you by. Don’t let yourself get to a point of regret. Make sure you use your time in such a way that when you look back you say “yea, I definitely made the most of it”
Balance is Power
If you feel well-balanced, or well-rounded, it feeds into your sense that you’re not only making the most of your life (and time), but also in control.
Be Balanced: you need more in your life than just work.
Be Persistent: in the pursuit of your interests.
Be Empowered: fill your time with things that fill your soul.
Featured and pinnable image courtesy of Unsplash