5 Ways to Balance Work and Leisure

Balance. An ideal we all strive for but seem to miss. Some of us may be struggling with ways to cut down work time and practice relaxation methods, and others (me) have too much leisure time and need to incorporate more productive days into our lives.

I thought this topic was important to talk about because balance is key to a successful and healthy life. When we don’t have balance, our lives are not being lived to the fullest.

Why is balance important? Simply put, picture a balancing scale. One side of the scale is work and the other side is leisure. When you put more energy into only one side of the scale, that side falls down. Take this collapse of the scale personally, because it’s your life. Taking a job or work seriously is a great quality to have, however, having your work consume you can cause you to burnout. Unfortunately, burn out does not just impact your work life, it impacts you as a person, your home life, relationships, etc. By focusing most or all of your attention on work, other parts of life, which need attention, are left in the dark.

On the other side of the scale, we have leisure time. I am currently a part-time grad student and am not working (for now). Because of this, I find myself doing a whole lot of nothing most days. I believe it is crucial to live an exciting, yet disciplined life, and I am bothered that I am not following my own rule. I have all the time in the world to do whatever I want and do as many productive things as possible, but I don’t. I am procrastinating my school work, and even letting my writing pile up on the blog platforms I write for. Now that I realize that this is an issue, it is now a goal of mine to work on balance, and it can be a goal of yours too.

Just follow these 5 steps!

1. Leave work at work.

Do not bring your work home with you. When your clock out time strikes, its time to leave your work at your desk, turn off the lights and head home. You don’t have to worry about work until your clock in time the next day. Go home, have dinner, go to the gym, or go see some friends and just focus on you. By bringing your work home with you, you are causing yourself additional stress that is not needed or necessary.

2. Listen to your body.

Your body is going to tell you what you need whether you like it or not. If you over-work yourself, your body is going to let you know that it is time to chill out. On the other hand, if you are partaking in too much leisure time, your body can show you that it’s time to start doing some physical activity, or you may feel groggy and lack energy most days, and that may happen because you are not letting your body have what it needs such as, healthy foods, fresh air, vitamin D, or physical activity. When your body is ready to tell you what it needs, LISTEN.

3. Make time for you.

Whether you are working too much or doing a lot of nothing, you need to make time for yourself. If you’re overworked, maybe a walk outside, or a nice day at the spa would be beneficial. Do something to help you relax and regain your thoughts. If you have too much leisure time, make time for yourself to do something productive. Clean your house or apartment, get a bunch of those annoying errands done, or pick up a new hobby. Complete tasks that can help you get organized, feel accomplished, and feel as though you are fulfilling your goals.

4. Hangout with friends or family.

For those of you who work a little too much, hanging out with friends or family is an extremely beneficial way to relax and get your mind off of anything that is weighing on you. They can be a great distraction from the things that you are trying to get away from. If you are someone who is trying to have less leisure time, ask your friends or family members to try a new activity with you. See what kind of different activities or events are going on locally, and invite them along. Friends and family can also act as a great source of motivation and help you achieve new goals.

5. Plan

As I said before, the reason why I chose this topic for this piece is that I currently have too much leisure time. So, I found an awesome planner that, basically, helps you get your shit together. I just purchased the Purposeful Planner by Corie Clark and am very eager to start planning out my life. The benefit of using a daily planner is that you will be able to write down the things that you need to get done, but also be able to physically see what you will be spending your time on. If you notice that you are still working too much, or still doing a whole lot of nothing, you can easily fill in the hours you have open for what you need to do in order to get that balance in your day.

Balance. A word we all strive for but seem to miss. The thing is, we don’t have to miss it. Balance is the key to a happy, successful life. If you want that life, go get it. It is as simple as that.

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex. She also writes for Unwritten, Thought Catalog, and That First Year.

Seeing My Way Out Of The Rubble

There is a stigma that goes along with the idea of therapy. You know, hide your crazy and start acting like a lady. People give all sorts of excuses as to why they don’t need therapy or can’t go to therapy. I say judge me when you’re perfect.

Going to therapy is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Letting someone in on my innermost thoughts? I used to think it was weak. Now I realize it is probably one of the strongest things I’ve ever done.

Everyone has their own breaking points that may send them to therapy. Mine? I hit a metaphorical brick wall going 100 miles per hour and couldn’t see my way out of the rubble.

Most people assume I started going to therapy when my ex-husband and I began our divorce proceedings but I had started seeing Miriam almost two months prior to moving out of my house when I had enough. Enough of my ex-husband’s ex-wife and all the crazy she brought down on my household.

When we began dating, I was sure that my ex-husband was exaggerating about his ex-wife and the special torture she put him through. I was positive we would end up like one of those uber chic blended Hollywood families where everyone is friends and we all get along for the sake of any children involved. I had grown up watching this kind of scenario play out with my own grandparents. They always rose above the fray to put their children and grandchildren first.

Wowza. I was living in the clouds.

We were nice enough on the surface, but it was never friendly in any way. And I learned that was fine. As long as we all could see past the haze. Then the haze started rolling in thicker and became a fog. A fog that caused my brick wall to get closer and closer.

I don’t know that I’ll ever forget that particular day. I was enjoying a little Tuesday evening yoga class. I had bent myself into a pretzel and come out fairly unscathed. I felt pretty good getting into my car. Then I picked up my phone and saw a litany of text messages berating me. I don’t remember how I responded but I know whatever I said was never meant to antagonize – I think I even apologized. But you would have never known that based on the response I got. My ex-husband’s ex-wife laid into me, attacking every inch of me up one side and down another. My Namaste flew out the window.

When I got home, I showed the texts to my ex-husband. His response? To lay into me some more asking why I even engaged her. Excuse me? What?

I stood glued to that spot in our kitchen for a long time that night. I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed with that wall’s rubble all around my feet.

I made an appointment for later that week to see Miriam.

And see her I did faithfully for 9 months. Ironic that the time it takes to grow a new life inside a woman is the same time frame I needed to grow into the person I am today. I found my voice, my light, and all those other therapy terms people throw around.

In the end, I forgave my ex’s ex-wife. Not literally – I will never have contact with that woman again if I can help it – but in therapy. I forgave her, not because she deserved my forgiveness but because I deserved the peace that came with it.

See that’s what therapy taught me; we all deserve peace, no matter how we achieve it.

A hot mess held together on a daily basis by dry shampoo and probiotics, Rachel is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up but for now is a communications professional by trade. A true Chicagoan through and through, she is an East Coast transplant trying to set down roots. Although the height of her high heels may be getting shorter, Rachel’s expectations are not getting lower and she is on a mission to change the world one person at a time.

Maybe You’re Not ‘Lucky,’ You’re Just Plain Talented

In the land of my ancestors, I impatiently stood at the top of a majestic castle, anxiously awaiting the moment my life would change. 

 Three people ahead of me. Two people. One person left. My turn. 

Slowly, gingerly, I leaned backward, precariously dangling over a grate that lent a frightening overhead view of the Irish streets far below me. I carefully pressed my lips against the slab of stone, immortalizing a trace of pale pink lip gloss on the massive rock.

Legend has it that my near kiss-of-death was supposed to reward me with the “Gift of Gab,” an extraordinary way with words, for the rest of my life. As an aspiring published writer, I believed my kiss on the gargantuan Blarney Stone was necessary for making my writing dreams a reality.

Three months later, I was published for the first two times, twice in a span of 48 hours.

As I stared incredulously at my name above my words, laid out where anyone could read my message, I reveled in the magic of the moment. I felt so lucky to see my dreams finally become a reality. My successful attempt at getting my writing published almost felt too good to be true. I silently gave thanks for my trip to Ireland and my harrowing climb up to the Blarney Stone. I had proof right in front of me that my monumental kiss had worked its magic, showering me with the gift of eternal eloquence.

I completely denied the truth behind the magic: the sheer amount of time I had spent researching possible publications, the arduous hours I had spent editing my work until I hated it, then editing the edits in a vicious cycle of all-consuming perfectionism, the daily consultations with friends asking them for brutally honest feedback on my work, and most importantly, the undeniable talent I possessed for making my voice heard, loudly and clearly, through the written word.

In the months that followed, I continued to negate my raw talent as I began to rack up bylines, social media shares, and re-publications. My success in the writing world was little more than a stroke of luck, a streak of good fortune that would soon fade away. I was caught in a perpetual state of anxiety, awaiting rejection after rejection, expecting my future to crumble.

It never did. I continued writing.

Nearly a year after I had trekked up to the top of a castle to kiss the Blarney Stone, I finally recognized the truth. Legend hadn’t brought me success. Luck hadn’t brought me success. Pure, raw talent had led me to my greatest accomplishment. In honing my writing talent, I had led myself to a successful future.

You may feel tempted to attribute your successes to factors outside of you: luck, superstition, or fate. But, in relegating your accomplishments to external factors, you are undercutting your talent and your potential. Success stems from the capability residing within you. Don’t ever be afraid to recognize the gifts and talents that led you to achieve your dreams. Maybe, you’re not just “lucky.”Maybe, you’re just plain talented.

Kelly is an avid writer and mental health and disability advocate with a focus on personal growth. She is passionate about using her life experiences to help others. Her ultimate goal is to make a difference in the world — no matter how small. When she is not writing or educating others about life with disability and mental illness, Kelly can be found listening to music and cuddling her cat.

5 Ways You Can Balance Out Your Life

Balance is so important.

Everyday, we need to make sure our lives are balanced, if not you won’t be able to live the best most full life possible.

Are you struggling to find balance in your life?

Do you want to find balance but you don’t know how?

Well I’m here to help! Today I’m giving you all five things you can do to help balance out your life:

  1. Make time for yourself – Everyone needs a little “me” time once and, awhile right? Well hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. Read that favorite book, eat that favorite dish, get that favorite snack or watch that favorite movie. The ese are some things you can do for you. There’s a lot more I know- the things I mentioned are just a few.
  2. Sit back and do absolutely nothing – On a weekend, we all like to get things done even if we feel run down after a long hard week of work-but we don’t really want to admit it. Are any of you guilty of that? Let me tell you, it’s ok to take a weekend to just rest and recharge. The things you need to get done will get done. Take that weekend to just rest! Everything eoll get done when it gets done.
  3. Take a mental health day – besides balance, your mental heath is SO important. You may not think so, but it is. If you’re in work one day and you feel like you can’t function, are not on your game, or just don’t feel like yourself, it may be the stress of other things taking over. Witch means you should take a day to yourself. If your stubborn like me- you may say to yourself, “I don’t need to take a day off, I’m good I’ll just let the stress pass.” Wrong! If the stress is affecting you in the three above ways-then you need to take a mental heath day. Call in sick the next day if you need to, don’t listen to your boss if they give you a hard time- you need to do what’s best for you and nobody else – your heath comes first!
  4. A night out with friends – Nothing is better then hanging out with friends. Sometimes a night with good friends’ good laughs and good food is the best medicine and can cheer you right up. So, after a long week of work, go gather up some of your best friends and have the time of your lives!
  5. Go for a long drive – Some good music and an amazing person siting next to you in the passenger seat of your car is the most fun and best thing ever! I mean who doesn’t love a good jam session with a good person? Gather up that one person, get in the car, blast that music and drive however far and however long you want- even if you both really don’t know where your going. Going for long drives can not only help your stress level, but it can also help clear your head if you have too much on your mind.

Balance is the most important thing (next to mental health) that we need to make sure we do regularly in our daily lives. If we don’t keep the balance, our lives would be disorganized and you’d have no control over when you can make time for yourself to do things for you because you’re so busy! With that being said: Make sure to do your best to practice balance.

You are your own version of you. You can make the best out of your life. You can do anything you put your mind to – don’t let anything get in the way of you doing what you love to do. Fight for what you want. Don’t listen to what everyone else says. You do you. You are valued, important, loved by many and needed in the world! Don’t think anything less of yourself. Get that strong support system you need to keep you grounded whenever you forget or feel like you’re losing balance. They’ll always be there to remind you! Do balance. Make sure to live your life to its fullest and grab and take all it has to offer!

Juliana Ruggiero

Juliana is 18 and fresh out of High school. She graduated with High honors. Writing is something she really enjoys doing and everyone that knows her tells her she has a gift for it. Juliana is a hopeless Italian food addict, loves meeting new people and making new friends. She is very laid back and easy going. Juliana is here to inspire everyone and give it her all. She doesn’t have a bad bone in her body. Her career began in July of 2016 after reaching out and offering to be interviewed for The Abler Blog. Since that interview, after seeing all the positive feedback she was getting from everyone, it pushed her to do more with her writing! Pushing herself to do more has lead Juliana to some of the most kind and supportive people she could ask for! She is grateful that she took that “leap of faith.”

The Elusive Balance

In today’s world of constant over stimulus from technology, information, trending topics, and general economic turmoil, people find a simple balance in life very difficult to achieve. When I discuss balance in life with most people, a vision of juggling comes to mind. It is believed that a balanced life is one in which, simultaneously, I keep all my projects going and all my relationships healthy. In this form balanced is achieved by sheer strategy and willpower. As I ponder this form of balance. I begin to recognize that balance for me is about order, rhythm, and harmony.

I find myself experimenting with what feels right for me, finding ways to slow down life and find peace amidst busy days. Knowing that my son is growing so rapidly and that each moment that I spend in the chaos of the past or questioning of my future, a realization occurs that balance is a moving target.

I personally have found that balance can be struck by slowing down and allowing myself to enjoy every moment of each day. However, this requires me to focus, sometimes re-focus and choose to find my peace one moment at a time. I have been able to envelop a harmonious state of mind by surrendering with trust to an unseen force. Knowing that I am supported, I can rest in this moment, lift the stresses to spirit and truly live in peace—all the while pieces of my life are flying in unknown directions.

I’m not suggesting that living this way comes easily. There are many opportunities for me re-frame my thoughts. My life is not always in complete balance—however, it works in the waves of ebbs and flows. I rely on inspired guidance and play as much as possible when that inspiration cannot be found. I revel in the life that I am creating, a more aligned description would be co-creating with spirit. I experience joy with the ability to sink into my life at each moment. As I do this, time slows…I know this may not seem possible, however, when I am focused on the moment that I am in, this is being truly present. There is no reflection of what came before or dreaming of what may come next. My experiences are more meaningful and miraculous events begin to unfold in ways that I never expected.

The next time you notice the time on a clock, take note that the pendulum is only in balance at a single point while the focal point swings back and forth between the two sides. Balance is in fact about movement and flexibility. Swinging and swaying in an attempt to remain centered in the counterpoint. And so, my life goes–in perfect balance, once in a while–but always swinging between two tensions.

So, while balance seems like an incredible notion, I’ve historically lived my life with little balance. I’ve also lived a lot of my life in play, in work, in lesson and adjustment–a stream of life never ending but flowing to yet another new opportunity and season.

I think it’s important to recognize that your life can be content, joyful, and meaningful even without balance. Each of us has a different level of comfort when it comes to keeping a sense of balance. As we all know too well, certain things can be disruptive to our balance and we don’t always listen to our inner voice that tells us this is not right for me.
Perhaps balance is more about the flexibility of the moments, the acceptance of the time limitations of each day, each season, each relationship–none totally balanced or totally perfect–but all an incredible gift.

So, today– if we could just see this moment and all that that unfolds for us, with you being the key to your own order, rhythm and harmony, and finding balance by being present. Then we can be grateful and content, joyful and able to enjoy ease in the moments of our days. Take a deep breath–and know that you are deserving of rest in the midst of the swings of our life.

Angie Grimes, also known as Muse Maven, is a Spiritual Architect providing Inspiration, Knowledge, and Motivation. Teaching you to look within and awaken – to reclaim your divinity by guiding you with practical techniques to actively shift perspectives, addressing past human conditioning and centering a new emotional state. #MuseMaven