by Sarah Davis
Fun. No, I'm not talking about the band with that overplayed song on the radio. I'm talking about something that is a KEY part of a healthy life. When it comes to work, it might be drilled into your mind that fun is for "after work" or that work and play are two very different things. It's also no secret that life LOVES to throw you lemons, so it's easy to get a little stressed out or weighed down by problems.
However, you don't always need to be so serious. In fact, it's bad for your health (stress can damage your body). Something that I have been noticing about myself lately is that I might be addicted to worrying. I will stress myself out about big projects I'm working on, think about them at night or associate them with worry, but I always pull through. It seems to be a common theme: that I always pull through and sometimes surprise myself. But, why am I surprising myself? Why don't I trust that I will pull through and take a more relaxed approached to stressful situations? Why am I not having fun with my job? (If you aren't in your 20's and reading this, forgive how naive it probably sounds, as I hear from people in their 30's and 40's that this is a common problem that everyone has in their 20's.)
1. Play with the mundane. Your work day might have a routine built into it, perhaps you sit in a cubicle, but there are ways to change it up. Paint your nails a fun color so that you see them when you're typing all day. Decorate your office. Play music that exhilarates you on your iPod. Pack a fun lunch. I love buying different drinks from Whole Foods to take to work, like Aloe Vera water or ZICO's flavored coconut water. It makes me feel like I'm on vacation to drink unique beverages, rather than coffee or water.
2. Schedule in at least one fun activity per week. Last weekend, I went to Kennywood, Pittsburgh's historic amusement park, and I didn't do anything important except embrace the nostalgia of the old roller coasters (and new ones alike) and eat Potato Patch french fries (which if you ever visit Pittsburgh, this should be on your list of priorities.)
3. Really take time to prepare and plan. At one point in my life, I was a die-hard planner. I loved to pack my lunch the night before, write in a day planner, etc. As my life has grown busier, however, I neglect planning a little more. But, if you take the time to prepare for your day and plan ahead of time, you can enjoy the day more. If you take a half hour to plan the night before by packing a lunch, looking at the weather forecast, getting your day's agenda planned out, you can go through your day with ease and you won't have to worry about on-the-spot planning. You will have a little more time to breathe and enjoy life.
4. You will figure it out. I heard the best advice this week from Danielle Laporte, which was simply: "You will figure it out." The main reason stress appears in our life is because we don't always know what's next or how we'll get through it. Like I mentioned above, when I am working on huge projects, I am addicted to worrying about them, even if I am confident I will complete them. However, instead of trusting your worrying thoughts, you need to trust that you will figure it out. Just jump forward in life without worry, because you will figure it out.
5. Take a mental vacation and don't you dare feel guilty about it! Seriously, this is the best thing I've written on the blog, ever. Take a few hours and watch television with take-out food, go to the bar with friends and have a martini, or go for a crazy-long bike ride with no real destination. Read a great book, make a really good meal from scratch with a glass of wine and your favorite music playing, or go try a new restaurant. If these mental breaks aren't built into your schedule, you aren't going to be able to work as hard. Without sleep, the human body wouldn't be able to work as hard. Your mind can't just keep performing...and keep performing. Work should be a part of your life, not your life. There are many, many different things to do in life, so take advantage of all of them.
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