How to Have Fun: Rejecting a Culture That Promotes Workaholism
It always strikes me as so depressingly ironic that our culture seems to have forgotten that the purpose of working hard has historically been all about affording the time and ability to enjoy life! Instead, our values have been flipped on their head to remove one half of the equation and leave simply the act of working hard as what is supposed to provide us with enjoyment, value.. the ultimate badge of success (wow, capitalism, how’d you fool us so well into exclusively working toward your ends?). This leaves a whole mess of people walking off the cliff of burnout, chronic fatigue, illness and ruined relationships because someone flipped the road sign..
Time to flip that baby back and remind all of us (me included) that working hard is intended to allow us to yes, grow our wealth, IN ORDER TO create room for enjoyment. And that the level of wealth required to enjoy free time is really quite minimal.. Are you making enough to pay rent, buy food and save a little bit for your future retirement (or can you shift some things so you answer yes?), then you’re golden. It’s time to TURN OFF the cell phone because you can and actually get down to the business of happiness..
There’s one other funny little twist that we need to riddle ourselves out of. Idk if you can relate, but at some point this whole work hard, work hard culture created such an impression on me that when I actually try to take “time off” I’m left with either anxiety about the work I should be doing, or whether I’m taking advantage of the time off as efficiently as I could (even typing this it feels ludicrous).
For example, I’m jetting off to a weekend away in Dallas. I’m thinking.. Am I enjoying my freedom enough? Should I really be reading that novel instead of aimlessly looking out the plane window on take off? Or wait.. Maybe the plane ride is a time to fit in one more email so when we land I can FINALLY, actually enjoy myself.
Jeez louise.. Time to break this grip on our happiness and free time once and for all and get us back to a few more glimpses of that “last day of school it’s summer!!” feeling.
Starting with the only rule: abolish the word, idea or impulse of “productivity” during free time. Yes, you are a badass boss who gets a sh*t ton done. You deserve to say “today, I will get NOTHING done and it will not reflect one iota on my value and self worth.”
Once you have that rule firmly in place.. Try a few of these other tried and true, delicious free time activities.
Don’t set an alarm. I love the feeling of rolling out of bed and it literally doesn’t matter what time it is.. Because it’s my day! Make that extra special cup of tea or coffee and just chill out.. For 10 minutes, an hour, three hours. Maybe you read, maybe you write, maybe you take a walk around the block before you get dressed.. Just roll around in the pleasure of NOT having to be anywhere or do anything specific.
Moving my body
I will admit. Some days I want anything but movement. But some days it can feel really lovely to choose to move, when the mood hits. Look up a yoga class that my schedule usually doesn’t allow or go for a run/walk around a new neighborhood. Getting some sweat on and feeling the guaranteed endorphin rush can sometimes get my gratitude meter even further off the charts for the chance to live in my body without limits.
Hang out naked!
This one is seriously the best. It’s the ultimate throwback (heyyy toddler years!) and reminds me that no, today isn’t just any old day, it’s a day to break the rules and live “outside myself” a bit.
Take yourself to lunch (or dinner)
Don’t book yourself a coffee catch up on your day off (unless you’re completely extroverted and this sounds like 100% fun). For me, giving myself a day to have an entire meal alone, at a nice restaurant or my favorite cafe, can feel like the ultimate treat.
Turn up your favorite tunes and break out those old dance moves. Jump, jiggle, slide, get your body grooving and just enjoy having the rhythm pumping through your blood.
Do absolutely nothing!
Lay down on the couch, whip out that phone, turn on the TV, grab an old magazine.. Whatever feels like the least amount of “something”.. Do that. Let your brain turn to a little bit of mush because, gosh darn it, our brains get tired just like the rest of us!
The icing on the cake: turn off the phone
For AT LEAST one hour out of your day (or week) of leisure, turn that god dang phone allll the way off (not just airplane mode). Notice how even taking that one step to disconnect from your responsibilities will bring a relaxation into your shoulders, jaw, mind.
Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite day off activities? Have you ever struggled with that free time anxiety sensation I described, and how have you worked your way out of it?
I hope you try out one, two or five of the things on this list and give yourself what you’ve been working so hard for… free time!
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