Balance Between Work and Play: A Mindfulness Practice
Balance between work and play requires mindfulness because without it, you might give your attention to one and ignore the other. If I had to guess, I’d say that more people overwork rather than overplay. It’s important that we do both.
You’ve probably heard me talk about the Lemmejust Dragon. It says things like, “Lemmejust do the dishes, throw in a load of laundry, check my email, make tomorrow’s lunches,” etc. “before I sit down for five minutes, take a break to connect with you, or do something fun.” Everyone is so driven to do more and more that they collapse in an exhausted heap, and are too tired to even do things that are fun. The Lemmejust Dragon postpones fun until it’s long forgotten.
Don’t Wait Until Vacation to Play
Many people wait until their annual vacation to play. They spend most of the year dreaming about it and magnifying its possibilitie of wonderfulness that few could ever attain. Often there’s a huge letdown (say if it rains everyday on your beach vacation) or sometimes because it was terrific, and then having it be over was agonizing. Don’t wait. Work play into your daily schedule, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Make it happen.
You’ve heard it. “Work hard. Play hard.” Yes. Do both. It won’t always be in equal measure but strive to do both. Creating boundaries around your work and play is a great first step. Decide on the number of hours you’ll work on a project or vow to stop at a specified time each day. Schedule your play time on the calendar, just like you do with your work.
Have To and Get To
Then there is the “have to do” list, along with the “get to do list.” Play with these and see if you can turn some of the “have tos” into “get tos.” For instance, “I have to go to work,” can be transformed into, “I get to go to work.” List three great reasons that you are lucky to have your job and suddenly your attitude about it will change.
Being mindful of your attitude and words can lead to a discovery that maybe you complain more than you think you do. Maybe you even sound ungrateful. That’s not likely a goal of yours so, with this awareness, you “get to” change it up.
During this week’s Enchanted Breath, think about some repetitive task you often grouse about. Notice if thinking about it clenches your fists, toes, and teeth. Breathe some fresh air into it and mindfully release the tension in your body, your muscles, and nerves. Imagine yourself feeling differently about it and allow yourself to get creative as you come up with three great things you can celebrate about accomplishing that task.
For instance, some people hate doing laundry. Once you finish it for this week, you can celebrate 1-that’s it’s done for the week 2-that you have fresh, clean clothes to wear and 3-that you have more choices about what to wear tomorrow than you did today.
So sit for a few moments, pick your task to view differently, breathe and release tension and create a new snapshot of how life can be.
Enchanted Breaths are the “ahh, the haha, and the aha! of life.”