Yesterday was Monday and, as usual, I had a long list of things to do. Guess what, I didn’t do any of them because we took the day off and went to the coast just to relax. Not only did we have a wonderful time, but the whole experience left me feeling refreshed and more centered.
I found myself thinking how ironic it is that we only live an hour from the beautiful southern Oregon coast and yet we rarely go there. Considering how much we enjoy the experience, it seems almost inexcusable that we don’t make the trip more often. Why do we sometimes resist the need to take a day off and just relax?
How about you, is it all work and no play?
How often do you unplug from your regular routine and take a day off just to relax, recharge, and just enjoy yourself? For productive people, this can be one of the greatest challenges and one where it is easy to get out of balance.
How many times have you put your personal need to relax on the back burner while you allowed other, more pressing activities to become your priority? And when you finally do take time for a much needed day off, how often do you find yourself wondering Why did I wait so long, what was I thinking? In a case like this, shifting your perspective can help restore your sense of balance.
Let’s face it, no matter how much we get accomplished, there is always one more thing that absolutely must get done. In reality, the list is never ending. Therefore, postponing your personal pleasure time and making it dependent on getting everything else done will mean a life of all work and no play. It’s like you have to earn the right to relax and justify taking a day off.
Regularly taking a day off to relax helps restore balance
I think we all recognize the importance of taking a break from productivity to maintain a healthy sense of balance in our lives. But this same kind of balancing act can also benefit us in almost every area of life. When we intentionally change our focus, we also shift our perspective. Doing so allows us to see things from a new and potentially beneficial vantage point.
We could use eye health to illustrate the practical benefits of such a perspective shift. If you read or stare at a computer screen for too long a period of time it strains your eyes. If you do it habitually it can eventually harm your vision. So, what do eye specialists suggest? They recommend that you regularly shift your focus and spend a few minutes looking at something in the distance to relax your eyes. Do you see the similarities?
Don’t let fixation steal your joy
I don’t know about you, but speaking for myself, I have noticed that sometimes there is a fine line between focused and fixated. What’s the difference? When we focus on something so much that it throws everything else in life out of balance, we have ventured into the land of fixation.
Being fixated involves an obsession. It’s the difference between a productive person and a workaholic, or a fitness enthusiast and a gym rat. If we allow any single area of life to create an obvious imbalance in every other area, it will shrink our world and narrow our perception.
Granted, short periods of very intense focus may be the only way to accomplish important goals. In such cases, we need to keep an eye on our overall balance and be willing to rein ourselves back if our life gets out of balance. After periods of intense focus it is also a good idea to take more than a single day off to really relax for awhile
5 areas to pay attention to if you are all work and no play
Here are five areas of life where we can use your focus to initiate an intentional shift in your perspective to help restore your sense of balance.
1. Balance work and play. We’ve already covered this pretty well, but it is an area that deserves careful monitoring. This is especially true for very productive, over achiever types. It is also valid, but in reverse, for those who tend to put recreation ahead of everything else in life.
2. Balance mental and physical activities. We have all heard the expression move it or lose it and this applies equally to our mind and body. Never forget that the mind and body relationship is very synergistic. If you ignore one, the other will suffer. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you don’t have time to eat good food, get regular exercise, and find opportunities to relax. The truth is you really can’t afford not to.
3. Be an observer and a participator. There are incredible benefits to carefully observing the world around you. It is one of the primary ways that we learn. But there is something that we should never forget – life is not a spectator sport. Life is for living and that means that we need to fully participate if we want our life to be a rich and rewarding experience.
4. Balance macro and micro focus. This means that we need to make an effort to see both the big picture as well as the details. If we focus exclusively on details we might become like the person who can’t see the forest for the trees. On the other hand, if all we look at is the big picture we will miss the richness of life that comes from appreciating the intricacy that make the big picture possible.
5. Balance interaction with solitude. Being around other people can add so much fullness to life. We are social creatures and the need for different levels of connection seems to be hardwired into our nervous systems. But it is in solitude that we connect with our deeper self and have time to reflect on and appreciate our place in the tapestry of life. Don’t forget to take time to be alone to relax with your thoughts and connect with your true self.
Do you resist taking a day off just to relax?
Do you ever say I din’t have time to relax?
The lines are open!