Not too long ago, I asked someone in my life what they would want me to do if they knew I would listen to them. Their response didn’t really surprise me.. “Work less!” they said.
Although I hate it when other people are right about me, this one I really listened to. I love my job, I love my coworkers, but there was a fine balance that I was missing. I was staying in on weekend nights, heading to coffee shops to catch up on work on my days off, and spending way too much time on to do lists and emails.
The issue was, I didn’t know how to alter this cycle! I have 2 days off a week. However, during one of those days I have a meeting, so technically I work 6 days a week. Since each day I work less that 8 hours, I end up working about 35 hours a week. Since most of my time is spent interacting with others and on my feet, those hours take a lot out of me. Some days when I get home I really don’t want to talk to anyone!
So, I set off to find some balance in my life. Every Saturday afternoon when I get off work, I spend a little bit of time decompressing from the week. I work out, do laundry, cook, nap, whatever it is that my body and mind need. Sundays are completely for me. The past few have been spent with some great old friends, eating, cooking, chatting, and relaxing. There is an amazing Sunday afternoon heated yoga class that (to me) is pretty much the best way to detox after the weekend (especially if Saturday night was a long one.. haha).
So have I found balance? A little. Do I need more of it? Probably. But the important thing is to figure out what works for you. You might need an hour at the end of every day to just glue yourself to the TV, read a book, or have a glass of wine with a friend. You might need a monthly weekend away. Maybe you’re like me and decompressing involves baking something delicious and healthy. Find whatever it is that keeps you from going crazy at the end of the day.. and put that on your to do list!
Here are a few tips for how to maintain your sanity in a crazy world!
- Hide your Blackberry/computer/Iphone from yourself for a few hours. Is it really necessary to always be available?
- Take a walk. Go for a run outside. Go watch the sunset. We spend way too much of our time indoors.
- Cook something. Look at the ingredients you have in your kitchen already. I bet you can surprise yourself (or someone you love) with something delicious.
- Make plans with a friend. We are all so consumed with ourselves and our own lives that sometimes all we need is to lounge on the couch with someone that cares about us.
- Plan a mini-vacation. Don’t have lots of money? Groupon may be your new best friend. Check out deals from all kinds of different businesses. (Hint: theres a Groupon website in almost every major city.)
- Take a nap. Always tired? It’s probably for a reason! As a society, we get way too little sleep and spend way too much time complaining about it.
- Work it out! Endorphins have been proven time and time again to be the best mood enhancer. Feeling a little stressed about work? Lace up your shoes and work yourself into a sweaty mess. There’s no way you won’t feel at least a little better afterwards.
And just because I feel bad writing more than one post without a recipe.. here’s one I tried the other day that got rave reviews from all my coworkers. Unfortunately I don’t have the most concrete measurements.. but I’m sure your experiment will turn out as wonderful as mine!
Raw Cookie Dough Balls of Joy
Add cashews to food processor (or high-speed blender) and begin to blend until moist (they will get clumpy). Add dates to cashews and continue blending until mixture is sticky. The pieces of date and cashew should be tiny! It will not be a smooth mixture, but it will have the texture of coarsely ground oats. (I think the ratio is about 1.5:1 cashews:dates). Remove mixture from blender and add chopped dark chocolate (about 1/2 cup). Roll into bars, form into cookies, or make little cookie dough shapes.
These are delicious right away, but a night in the freezer really gives it the cookie dough texture!