Finding the perfect combination of work and relaxation is a tricky balancing act. But, do it right and you could have found the key to a happy, healthy life. So how do you achieve that elusive ‘right mix’?
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Find work you love…
First of all, remember that work doesn’t have to be entirely separate from your ‘other’ life. It’s important to have a bit of separation from the two (try not to check your work email during family time if you can help it), but to some extent, work can become part of ‘home’ life. This is most easily achieved if you love the work you’re doing: you don’t need to cut work short to spend a night browsing the internet or chilling in front of the telly. So, one way of balancing work and relaxation is to find a job you love so that it feels more like an opportunity and less like an obligation.
… but don’t work too hard
That said, don’t be tempted to pour too many hours into your work if it means your relationships, personal time or health is suffering as a result. There are lots of reasons you could be working too hard. Perhaps you have to work hard to bring in enough money every month. Perhaps you’re under lots of pressure in your job. Or, maybe your work is really important to you, so you’re going to spend lots of time doing it! Either way, you need to create space in your life for relaxation.
Create space in your life for relaxation
First, write a list of things that are important to you outside of work, and that you enjoy investing time and energy on. For example:
- Quality time with my partner
- Quality time with my children
- Socialising with friends
- Doing exercise
- Doing a hobby
Next, map out the number of hours you have in a day. Block off time for sleeping and ‘must-do’ tasks, like non-negotiable chores and commitments. Then, apportion yourself a reasonable amount of time for work – stick to it! Challenge yourself to achieve tasks within your timeframe, and see if there’s anything surplus you can delegate or simply not do. If you have to work extra hours for extra money, try to scale back your outgoings so that you require a smaller income. Now see how many spare hours you have left in a day: this is the time to guard fiercely for relaxation.
Plan time to relax
How many times have you said “I’d just love to spend more time with my family and friends.”? Rather than just wishing for it, try actually making dates with them. Schedule a catch up with your girlfriends: throw a bingo night (check out winkly bingo’s blog for reasons why it’s such a great idea), or go for a coffee after work. Book a night to hang out with your kids. Organise a regular date night with your other half: even if it’s just a stroll in the park!
Maintain the balance
Finally, have a weekly check-in with yourself to examine if the balance is working for you.
Do you think you’ve spent enough time on work and relaxation this week? If not, how can next week be different? Keep assessing it: regular reflection will help you achieve the right mix.