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 DelVecchio

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.

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