I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed by work lately, it’s gotten to a point where my job is threatening to take over my entire life. So last week I made a conscious decision to focus on leaving work at work in order to allow some space and time to really concentrate on making my life outside of work more meaningful; to really savor and enjoy the time I spend away from my job. My hope is that doing so will also relieve some of the stress I feel in the office, and ultimately improve both my performance at work and my quality of life outside of work (lofty goals, I know, but I’m a big fan of the “shoot for the moon, land in the stars” method of goal setting).
I started practicing this concept last Tuesday evening when I spent the evening testing out recipes from a couple of my favorite blogs and watching the Tuesday-night lineup on TV, which includes New Girl and The Mindy Project (as far as I’m concerned, Tuesday-night TV is today what Thursday-night TV was in the 90s). I made a point of having no agenda, of giving myself freedom – if for only one night – from to-do’s and should-do’s.
By the end of the evening, not only had I made these healthy pumpkin spice cookies and a batch of this to-die-for pumpkin gingerbread smoothie (which I’ve made again twice since then), but I had actually forgotten about work for a few hours. I even found some time to sit down and write!
Bonus: I felt calmer going into work the next morning. But I won’t lie to you, by the end of that day, and definitely by the next, I felt in over my head again. And it wasn’t quite as easy disconnecting every other night as it had been on Tuesday. But, I did find separation again on the weekend and, as it came to a close on Sunday night, I realized that I was actually looking forward to the start of a new week, and to Tuesday night again.
It was such a simple evening, but it was so satisfying in its simplicity that I decided that, for the foreseeable future I’m taking Tuesday nights as my own to cook, to watch TV, to write, to do whatever. I’m not going to make any other plans or feel guilty for leaving work at 5 p.m. on the dot on Tuesdays. It may take some practice to get the rest of the week to feel quite as peaceful, but I figure Tuesdays are a good enough place to start. I’ll keep you posted on what new recipes and TV shows I discover along the way!
Now, I want to hear from you. I’m obsessed with exploring the concept of work-life balance and want to write about it more. Are you new to the office world like me and trying to find your center? Do you have kids and if so does that make it easier or harder to find balance? Are you single like me, and if so how do you leave work behind when there’s nothing – no one – pressing to rush home to? Do you live in the mountains, where the idea of work-life balance is highly valued, or are you in the midst of a bustling metropolis where your career comes first? Please, don’t be shy. Share your thoughts in the comments section below!