One of the most fundamental causes of our lack of work-life balance (aside from living far beyond our means and thinking it’s “success”) is that we prioritize work over our general well-being. If you’re rolling your eyes because people who take mental health days, prefer sleep to answering early morning emails, and aren’t completely devoted to their desk jobs don’t succeed, it’s a matter of how you define a “good life.”
It’s become somewhat of a trend for offices to adopt new, more holistic ways of functioning: nap rooms, morning yoga, catered lunch, and time off have become staples of the kinds of companies you’d consider it an honor to work for. But like the tampon debacle, basic, necessary self-care is not a luxury.
More importantly, what most people desperately overlook is that when they are best taken care of physically, mentally, and emotionally, they’re able to perform much better at work.
Even at the average full-time job, eight out of 24 hours of the day means work should, at max, only encompass 1/3 of your time. If sleep accounts for the next portion, that means even at a full-time job you have exactly eight hours a day for your own personal use. (Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?) It may make you feel as though you should be maximizing those hours by doing as much as humanely possible, but the opposite tends to be true. Here are four reasons why you should consider using it to relax:
Relaxing Is Not “Doing Nothing” — It’s Doing Things That Replenish Your Energy
Certainly eating and sleeping do the same, but if most of your waking life is spent doing things that actively drain you of your energy, you should balance it out by finding past times that are productive for what they give back to you — not what they take.
The Things That Are Most Rewarding Are Effortless
We laude “hard work” to such a disproportionate degree that we forget the art and magic and importance of focusing on what comes naturally to us. You can still work hard for your goals and at the same time, allow your natural inclinations to lead you toward what you want to work for.
You Cannot Expect Your Body To Perform When You Don't Give It What It Most Fundamentally Needs
Good food, enough sleep, a lot of love, and so on. It's so unfortunate how we think these things are either optional, or luxuries, when really, they are just as necessary as anything else (if not a bit more so!)
Life Is Not A Sprint, It's A Marathon
As I like to say: "There will always be more work." I used to have a hard time relaxing unless I was totally certain that I had done everything I needed to — until I realized that I will never be done with everything I need to do, and I should be grateful to have work, and to have more to propel me forward. It's not about "finishing," and then giving yourself some breathing room. Life is not a sprint, it's a marathon.
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