How Do I Combine Work and Play?

Question: Dear Luise: Sometimes I feel like I’m two separate people. I have the side of me that is hard working and the side that loves to goof off. I seem to either be in one mode or the other without any real ability to combine or balance them very well. Any ideas? Howard

Answer: Hello Howard: Most of us are a lot more than two people…and it’s quite a job to give “everyone” within us a voice. This is one of the many places where black and white thinking gets us into trouble. Neither is good or bad. We’ve all met people who are so serious they can’t crack a smile or rest a moment, and others who are so mellow and laid back that breathing is about all they can manage. That’s an exaggerated statement, of course, but you know what I mean. Very few people actually combine work and relaxation into one comfortable lifestyle. It’s a great concept to shoot for, but professional athletes work very hard and usually need to play elsewhere.

The way to address this is to look at what your short-term and long-term goals are. How much time and effort needs to go toward serious pursuits and how much time and effort can be left for relaxation? There’s a reason for the five day week. Seven day weeks aren’t healthy. And at the opposite end of the spectrum, an endless vacation doesn’t work, either. That’s why so many retired people do volunteer work. You need to attend to all of the various “yous” to be happy, healthy and successful. Trial and error comes into play when you attempt to plan your week around accomplishment and leisure. Watch and see what works. Notice when you become bored, harassed or overwhelmed…and adjust your schedule accordingly. Observe others, because you can learn a lot that way. And stay conscious of your need to live your life in a way that works for you. You’re on the right track by not being unconscious about all of this! Blessings, Luise

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