It’s time to trot out that old joke about being on your deathbed and saying, “I should have spent more time at the office.”
When given time to think about it, we all generally agree that people should spend more time relaxing and enjoying their friends and family than they do at the daily grind. But it’s not so easy to just break with a life-long pattern of work-a-holism. Hell, you like your job! Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like work. But it is work, and play is play.
It’s important to be able to distinguish the two, because when we feel our work defines us completely, it can eclipse some of the best experiences in life, which generally don’t involved earning money.
Here are five easy ways to relax:
Leave work at work, and play when you’re supposed to be playing. Don’t turn your after-work cocktail hour into an extended business meeting. Let your imagination flow to new places in your brain. Even if you’re with your same work people, talk about different things. Don’t gossip about the guy who just got fired – instead ask your co-worker what she likes to do for fun. Expand your horizons and reap the rewards of getting beyond your office, even with office folks around you.
When you get home, change yourself – literally. Many life coaches agree that this simple daily ritual can transform your evening and prepare you for doing something other than what you’ve been doing all day in those same clothes - namely, work. Getting out of your suit and into a pair of sweatpants may inspire a jog, or even just a walk around the garden. Throw an apron on over a T-shirt and experiment in the kitchen, or don some work jeans and return to that neglected shop project in the garage. Whatever you do, don’t go into your home office unless absolutely necessary!
Savor The Season
Now that you’ve changed your clothes, change your location! Don’t let the seasons pass you by. Grab your partner or a friend and take advantage of the long evenings and mild temperatures of spring and summer by sitting out on a patio for dinner or window-shopping in the city. Or in winter, check out local skating rinks and get out there on the ice with a hot chocolate. Fall? See what’s happening in the countryside – breathe some fresh air and visit a pick-your-own farm for apples or pumpkins.
If you find your mind wandering back to the office, see if this trick will work. Get out a pen and paper and write down ten things that you’re grateful for. You can even throw some work-related things in there if you want. The idea is to generate gratitude for what life has given you, which inevitably leads to a more reflective, relaxed state.
This is probably the most difficult ‘task’ for a hard-working, job-defined person. After all, there’s always something that needs to be done, even at home. Avoid ‘shoulds’ when you plan your evening, as in, “I should do laundry. I should make my lunch for tomorrow.” Forget about tomorrow and live in the now, even if it’s just for an hour. Turn off the obligation and see the transformation!