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If You Think Work Hard and Play Hard Is Not Practical, You Haven't Really Tried
How many people do you know who complain about work stresses? They may even do a job that they do not enjoy, only to return home at the end of the day with little energy or motivation to do anything. They go to sleep and prepare for the same routine the following day. The concept of work hard play hard is the last thing on their minds.1 Perhaps you may feel like this some days, too!How many people do you know who complain about work stresses? They may even do a job that they do not enjoy, only to return home at the end of the day with little energy or motivation to do anything. They go to sleep and prepare for the same routine the following day. The concept of work hard play hard is the last thing on their minds.1 Perhaps you may feel like this some days, too!
A lot of people may not revel in the mundane tasks of their day-to-day life, which is completely normal. As children, we could not wait to become grown-ups, and every year seemed to take forever. Then, one day you were finally an adult, which meant responsibilities, bills, and jobs (but at least you could decide your bed time.)
“Work hard, play hard” is crucial for human development.
In a study published in The Open Psychology Journal, Dr. Lonnie Aarssen conducted a survey that involved almost 1,400 students at Queen’s University.2 It proved there was a connection between legacy and leisure activities. In other words, the people who had an inclination to work hard also exhibited a strong need for sufficient enjoyment and relaxation.
Dr Aarssen believes that the “work hard, play hard” ethos provides something quite necessary to human existence. “We, unlike any other animals, are aware and concerned about our own self-impermanence,” she said. “Legacy drive and leisure drive have potential to explain our ability to buffer this anxiety. Between these two drives, our ancestors were able to distract from their own self-impermanence, allowing them to cope with the anxiety and thus minimize its potential negative impact on reproductive success.”
But why is it so hard to get the right balance?
“Work hard, play hard” is sometimes wrongly associated with long days at the office and then going to all-night parties frequently. Yet, this is not a healthy lifestyle either; your body requires enough sleep and we all know that an excessive use of alcohol is never recommended.
Firstly, working hard is not a bad thing. It means that you are being productive to achieve certain goals (which ultimately will lead to affording your lifestyle.)
The “playing hard” part relates to whatever you can do to promote more enjoyment and relaxation in your life. Many people translate this to mean sitting in front of the television for a few hours before eventually going to bed.
I will be honest–when people are talking about the latest or most popular TV series, I am generally clueless. I don’t watch television and I have never owned one. And that is not because I am anti-television; I just never found it mentally relaxing or stimulating.
Each week, the average American watches more than 34 hours of television. They do it because it appears to be the easiest relaxation outlet. The reality, however, is that you wake up still feeling tired. This is because the artificial lights of the television screen reduce the amount of melatonin your brain creates, which is the hormone responsible for inducing sleep.3
By maximizing your free time, you will feel more revitalized, which will lead to being more productive, and therefore make you better able to achieve your goals! Life will also feel more fulfilling than simply “working all the time.”
How to adopt a more “work hard, play hard” lifestyle?
1. Be firm that when you leave work, you actually leave work!
Don’t be tempted to check your work emails at night. Unless it’s an emergency, whatever it is can wait a few hours until the morning.
2. Identify where you are wasting your free time.
Are you spending hours on television, or on social media every day to unwind? Minimize some of those routines–create a schedule and stick to it.
3. Make a list of the things that interest you instead.
Perhaps there are activities you could do, such as learning another language, going to the gym, or taking up a hobby.
If leaving the house is not an option, there are other ways to relax at home–perhaps yoga or meditation. Maybe you always wanted to learn to play the guitar, or do some writing? Or, you could simply sit at the dinner table to eat with your loved ones over a conversation, instead of eating in front of the television.
4. Read more.
Reading is one of the best ways to de-stress. Find a book in a genre that appeals to you–you will be more motivated to get to the end.
5. Reward yourself.
Give yourself little treats from time to time. Book an occasional massage, buy tickets to see a show, or whatever you want to splurge on. And whenever possible, travel more! To “work hard, play hard” means that you’ve earned it.
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