Work hard, play hard. Everyone says it like it’s a good thing. But what if it’s…not?
Hustle culture tells you to work, work, work so you can enjoy a few weeks of the year in some relaxing destination. And then you can do it all over again.
Let’s explore a different way. How can you create a life you don’t need a vacation from? How can you enjoy the other 95% of your year?
It’s time to enjoy every letter of your real life, not just the exclamation marks. Here’s how.
1. Change Your Workday Into Something You Don’t Hate
We’re told to hustle, push harder, and always aim for more. And every now and then someone will say “Don’t forget work-life balance!” Whatever that’s supposed to mean.
What if we simplified it down to this: find joy in our daily routines. Stop hustling to reach the next milestone. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll enjoy your life once you do that ONE next thing. Make it a priority to enjoy your life now.
Many of us fall into the trap of thinking that life outside work is where “real” life happens. But we spend a significant part of our lives working. Shouldn’t we strive to make those hours count too? It’s not about working less; it’s about making our work more meaningful and enjoyable.
This doesn’t have to mean your work is important in the grand scheme of the world. It means you don’t hate going there every day!
- Taking Regular Coffee Breaks. Enjoying a cup of your favorite coffee or tea can be a relaxing moment to look forward to.
- Appreciating a Nice View. If you have a window, take a moment to enjoy the view, whether it’s a bustling cityscape, serene park, or just the sky.
- Personalizing Your Workspace. Adding personal touches like photos, plants, or inspiring quotes can make your space more inviting.
- Listening to Music or Podcasts. If your job allows, listening to your favorite tunes or an interesting podcast can make work more enjoyable.
- Taking Short Walks. A brief walk, even just around the office or building, can be refreshing and invigorating.
- Engaging with Colleagues. Socializing with coworkers during breaks or lunch can boost your mood. It can also create a more enjoyable work environment.
- Enjoying a Good Lunch. Savor your lunch, whether it’s homemade or special. It can be a highlight of your day.
- Decorating for Seasons or Holidays. Small decorations can make the workplace more lively and fun. Celebrate upcoming holidays or seasons with them.
2. Cultivate Daily Mindfulness (this isn’t just a dumb buzzword)
In the hustle of life, it’s easy to get lost in thoughts about the past or worries about the future. But when we focus too much on what was or what could be, we miss out on what is.
That’s where mindfulness comes in. Practicing mindfulness helps us appreciate the present.
- Observe your surroundings and notice details you usually overlook. Don’t just be on your phone at all times.
- Listen to what others are saying without planning what you’ll say next.
- When you clean, enjoy the result of a nice-looking room when you’re done. Admire your work.
- Keep your home clean for yourself, not just for guests.
- Eat sitting down without any technology nearby.
- Don’t always be listening to audiobooks or podcasts. Let your mind relax.
- Create a bedtime routine that signals to your body and mind that it’s time to unwind.
3. Take care of yourself a little every day
In the hustle of our everyday lives, personal wellbeing often takes a backseat. We get caught up in meeting deadlines, attending meetings, and managing daily chores. We forget the most crucial aspect of our lives: ourselves. It’s time to change that.
Self-care is not about spa days or indulgent treats. It’s about daily habits.
Self-care should be as routine as brushing your teeth. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. It’s about small, everyday actions that make a big difference.
Here’s a list of specific, simple self-care ideas that can become part of your daily routine:
- Wake up early and enjoy time to yourself.
- Journaling: Spend a few minutes each morning or evening writing down your thoughts and feelings.
- Hydration: Keep a water bottle handy and make sure you’re drinking enough throughout the day.
- Short Walks: Incorporate brief walks into your day, whether during lunch or a break.
- Listening to Music: Play your favorite tunes to uplift your mood or relax.
- Reading for Pleasure: Spend some time with a good book to escape and unwind.
- Connecting with Loved Ones: Have a quick chat or check in with a friend or family member.
- Sunlight Exposure: Spend a few minutes outside to get natural light, especially if you’re indoors most of the day.
- Mindful Tea/Coffee Breaks: Savor your drink, focusing on the taste and the break from work.
- Laughing: Watch a funny video or read a comic strip to inject some humor into your day.
- Decluttering Your Space: Spend a few minutes tidying your immediate surroundings for a clearer mind.
- Creative Hobby: Engage in a creative activity like drawing, knitting, or gardening for relaxation.
4. Nurture everyday relationships
We get so wrapped up in our personal and professional responsibilities. We forget the importance of maintaining and strengthening our connections with others.
But here’s the thing: relationships are the backbone of a happy life. Really.
You can’t see friends and family only on holidays. It has to become a regular thing.
But this is good. It means you don’t need big family trips or crazy-orchestrated events. Just weave companionship into your everyday.
Consider the little things that can make a big difference:
- Sharing a meal without the distraction of TV or phones
- Going for a walk together
- Involve your family in your daily activities like cooking or gardening
- Asking someone to come on an errand with you
These activities provide opportunities for deeper conversations and shared experiences. Strong relationships are built on them.
5. have a hobby (That you actually like.)
It’s easy to forget to do things for the fun of them. But hobbies are more than just a way to pass time; they’re an essential ingredient for a fulfilling life. They provide a much-needed break from the monotony of daily tasks, giving us something to look forward to and get excited about.
Engaging in hobbies is not about being the best or achieving perfection. It’s about finding joy, relaxation, and even a sense of accomplishment in doing something you love.
Do not focus on what will impress others, or save money, or produce something cool. You have to truly love it.
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Hobbies often lead to social interactions. They can also create connections with like-minded individuals. Joining clubs or groups related to your hobby can expand your social circle. It can also add a community aspect to your life. This can be particularly beneficial in breaking the cycle of work-home-repeat. It adds variety and excitement to your routine.
Be intentional about incorporating these activities into your life. Instead of waiting for free time to magically appear, schedule time for your hobbies as you would for any other important appointment.
6. Add nature to your daily life
Nature is a natural antidote to the stress and strain of modern living. It demands nothing from us. It’s a place where we can just be, away from the demands and pressures of our busy lives.
One of the most compelling aspects of nature is its ability to bring us into the present moment. When you’re outside it’s easier to enjoy the here and now. The mindfulness aspect of nature is a powerful tool for mental clarity and emotional peace. (Remember mindfulness?)
You can engage with the outdoors without planning elaborate hiking trips or weekend getaways.
Here are a few ideas:
- Start by adding a short walk in a nearby park or green space to your daily routine. Even 10 to 15 minutes can make a difference.
- If you have a garden or a balcony, spend a few minutes each day tending to plants. Gardening is a therapeutic activity that connects you with the cycle of life and growth.
- On weekends, consider visiting local nature reserves or trails. I bet you have many, many that are close toy our home you don’t even know about.
- If you’re limited in mobility or access to green spaces, bring nature to you. Keep plants in your home or set up a bird feeder near a window.
7. Find a Way to Love Your Home
Loving your home is essential for a sense of contentment and well-being. The space where you spend a significant part of your life matters. It’s not about having a picture-perfect house from a magazine. It’s about creating a space that reflects who you are and makes you feel good.
Many times, we overlook the potential of our own homes. We dream of bigger, better, or more stylish spaces. But the truth is, comfort and joy in your home often come from the little things. Personal touches and the memories you create there also matter.
Start by really looking at your space. Notice the way light filters through your windows. Notice the comfort of your favorite chair. Notice the view from your balcony. These are things we often take for granted but can bring simple joy.
- Try rearranging your furniture for a fresh perspective
- Add some indoor plants for a touch of nature.
- Clean up! A tidy, organized space feels more peaceful and inviting.
More Resources for Enjoying Life Right Where You Are
- A Podcast Series on the idea of Equanimity, or accepting the ups and downs of life without too much attachment.
- Put your zip code in and find all the trails near you.
- Timeblock your schedule so you have room for leisure and hobbies.
I encourage you to revisit the sections that resonated most with you. Consider the resources provided. Take that next small step towards a life where every day is as enriching as those rare vacation days. The lines between work and play can blur when you enjoy every part of your year.
I hope your next vacation is one you take because you want it, not because you need it. Good luck ❤️!