After graduation, I spent five years chasing my dreams and doing everything I could to get myself ahead. Then one day I realized that it wasn’t working out for me, even though I was doing what “on paper” should have been the job of my greatest ambitions, I wasn’t completely happy. Understanding that dissatisfaction, and being able to accept it was a difficult road, but it helped me to appreciate that my career is not the only priority in my life, nor should it be.
Here are a few other things to put first once in a while:
Diet: Make sure you are eating enough of the right and the wrong stuff (it’s all about balance). Make this a priority by taking the time to go to the grocery store, plan meals and prepare the dishes you enjoy rather than grabbing something convenient between tasks at work or en route home.
Physical Health: Take time to do some exercise, even if it’s part of your commute. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, so make sure to schedule in the activities you enjoy, whether it’s a quick 20-minute yoga via YouTube before work, or hopping on your bicycle instead of the train some days.
Downtime: It’s important to have sections of your day where you are completely disconnected from your job – what do you do in the morning between getting out of bed and hitting your email account? Try to incorporate stretching, breakfast, coffee, anything to ease your brain into motion. Or in the evening, do something unrelated to your job.
Family: Be it personal visits or calls from afar, be sure to keep in contact with your nearest and dearest. Talk to them about your life and listen to their news, feel connected and part of something bigger.
Friends: Socializing is vital. Take the time to keep in touch with friends who are further away, and make plans with those who are closer. Don’t neglect these relationships in favor of your career.
Networking: Meeting new people and expanding your social circle is also key. Try new activities, clubs or hanging out at new places, meeting up with friends of friends, and generally putting yourself out there to get connected with a wider group. New people bring with them new perspectives which is a great way to broaden your own horizons!
Hobbies: Don’t be that person who works, sleeps, showers, repeats. Have an interest, a class you attend or a course you take, or club membership of team participation. This will help with the networking as well!
Get creative: Creative activities like writing, drawing, knitting or crochet are all great ways to relax your mind and can act as a form of meditation. By utilizing the creative part of the brain you bring different parts of your mind to life which can help to organize your thoughts and help you to bring your conscious thoughts into the present (and away from any remaining work quandaries).
Meditate: Haters gonna hate but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Even five minutes of meditation can help to relax your mind and tune you out of work life and into the zen zone. It doesn’t all have to be lotus legs and incense sticks either, you can even meditate whilst you do the dishes!
Ultimately, focusing on these things will not cause a huge detriment to your work-life success, but it will bring you more balance, which should lead to happiness. Remember not to fret if you feel that you need to re-jig your priorities, it’s your life and you need to live the way that best suits you!