Finding The Balance Between Work And Play
by kat nicholls
How much time, energy and intention do you put into your work? If you’re anything like me, chances are the answer is quite a lot. As passionate creatives, makers and business owners, our work is often done with a whole heap of soul. Now, how much time, energy and intention do you put into your leisure time?
I recently took a break from my business and used the time away to focus on my physical health and, well, just enjoying myself. I went on holiday, took solo cinema trips, drew in my sketchbook, started swimming, read in coffee shops… and it felt revitalising. OK, saying that a break from work was revitalising isn’t ground-breaking – I know – but I was surprised at just how much energy I gained from putting a little more intention into my leisure time.
Lack of balance
Before my break, my evenings and weekends were largely spent on the sofa, watching TV and recuperating from work. And of course, there’s a time and a place for this, but I realise now there was a real lack of balance. I was putting a huge amount of energy into my work, trying to perform at 100% in both my day-job (content creator at Happiful) and my business (confidence mentor for creatives). So it’s no surprise I was knackered when the day or week was done and the only thing I could muster energy for was to lift the remote.
I’ve learnt this lesson several times before, but I’m thankful this time the lesson was reiterated to me before I hit burnout. I’ve realised (once again) that I only have 100% within me, and I can’t give all of that to work. I need to pull back and save some energy and intention for my leisure time. Since returning from my break, I’m doing exactly that. I schedule my leisure activities like appointments to help me prioritise them and I’m keeping a mental note of what activities particularly light me up. I feel like I’m regaining a sense of balance that was missing and real clarity around what this beautiful life is for.
Care for myself
I love my work, I have a deep purpose driving what I do and I still care deeply for it. But I also care deeply for myself and my experience during my time on earth. I realise now it’s OK to prioritise things above my business (like my health) and that this doesn’t mean I won’t succeed. I can slow down, do things my way and still feel passionate about what I do.
If you’ve read this and thought ‘hey, I could do with some of that balance’, try journaling about the following:
~ How would it feel to schedule one leisure activity a week?
~ What would *actually* happen if you pulled back a little energy from your work?
~ Imagine yourself many years in the future, when you’re nearing the end of your life – what parts of your life make you smile to look back on?
~ Will whatever work crisis you’re thinking about right now matter in five years time?
Productivity and self-worth
I know this isn’t easy, and this is partly because a lot of us tie up our sense of identity and worth with work and productivity. But the first step in untangling the two is awareness and journaling is a wonderful way to start the process.
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