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Last Updated on December 22, 2020

How to Enjoy Life In a Way That Most People Don’t

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How to Enjoy Life In a Way That Most People Don’t

Many of us assume that we need to make drastic changes to our habits, routines and/or bank balances to be happy and enjoy life. Fortunately, that’s not the case.

Often, we already have everything we need to enjoy life—it’s just a question of prioritizing what’s really important.

So, how can you enjoy life in a way most people don’t? Here are 25 simple ways you can enjoy your life more, starting today.

1. Focus on Yourself

Other people will always be on hand to offer up their opinions and advice. Ultimately, however, it’s you who has to live with the consequences of your decisions.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with outsider opinions and advice, go off the grid for a few days. Get off social media, put your phone on silent, and tap into your own thoughts and emotions to figure out what your next step should be.

2. Make Time to Relax

Making time to relax and reconnect with ourselves leaves us better equipped to deal with more challenging periods in life. Instead of only finding time to relax when you’re extra stressed, in order to enjoy life, you need to be making time for rest on a daily basis[1].

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8 Ways to Relax Your Mind and Calm Down

    Relaxing can involve doing a favorite hobby, taking a short nap, going for a walk, or even taking a quick weekend trip. Find what works to get your stress levels down and do it.

    3. Avoid the News

    It’s all too easy to get sucked into public drama, online and offline. Trust that if something important happens, you’ll know about it. Otherwise, save your energy and spend your time on something more worthwhile than doomscrolling.

    4. Nurture Your Positive Relationships

    Make time to nurture the positive relationships you have with friends and family. Identify the people who lift you up and focus your energy on them.

    Cultivating positive relationships in life has been proven to increase overall well-being. One study even found that “found that people who have good social relationships are half less likely to die early than are more isolated people”[2]

    5. Meet New People

    Community is one of the most important needs we have. Making a consistent effort to meet new people helps us fulfill that need and introduces us to new ideas and perspectives.

    Expanding your support system will also insure that you have more resources to get through tough times and enjoy life.

    6. Explore New Places

    New places and cultures offer a different perspective on the world and add a healthy dose of inspiration and possibility to our lives. You don’t need a huge bank balance, however, in order to explore. Walk through a new part of town, watch a documentary, go camping in a nearby national park. It doesn’t have to be far to offer you a great experience.

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    7. Keep a Wish List

    Whenever you think of something you’d like to try, or a place you’d like to visit, write it down and keep a collection. It keeps the dream alive and stops it fizzling out as a forgotten thought.

    8. Try New Things

    Commit to trying a certain number of items from your wish list each year to make sure they don’t just stay as wishes. This will keep you engaged with the world around you instead of allowing you to sit back and watch it all fly by.

    9. Spend Money on Experiences, Not Possessions

    It’s experiences, not possessions, that create memories and meaning. Instead of buying that diamond necklace you’ve got your eye on, why not spend that money on a weekend getaway with your spouse? Objects won’t help you make memories, but experiences will, and those are things that really allow you to enjoy life like no one else.

    10. Cut Down Your Junk

    Physical clutter equals mental clutter. Reducing the amount of stuff around us fosters a calmer mental state, too. By tidying up around the house, you can increase your focus, productivity, and positive emotions.

    11. Make Time for Gratitude

    Creating a routine of writing down three things you feel grateful for each day helps you focus more on what’s good in your life. Starting a gratitude journal can help, too. By focusing on gratitude, we place ourselves in the moment and are able to see just how much good we’ve got going for us[3].

    How to Practice Gratitude to Enjoy Life

      12. Track How You’re Spending Your Time

      It’s easy to get to the end of a day and wonder where all the time went, so track how you spend your time in an average week. When we’re conscious of how we’re spending our hours, we can make the most of the time we have on this planet.

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      13. Be Deliberate in Your Choices

      We’ve never had so many opportunities to create a lifestyle that we truly love, yet many of us still live life on autopilot. Be deliberate in your life choices: remember that it’s your life and no-one else’s.

      14. Invest in Yourself

      The more self-aware and self-accepting we are, the happier we are. Make time to read personal development books, journal, and focus on being compassionate towards yourself. Here are also 3 Valuable Ways to Invest in Yourself

      15. Remember That All Feelings Pass

      A key part of enjoying life is accepting that we’re not going to feel 100% happy 100% of the time. During the more challenging times, remember that life is one big cycle of ups and downs, and remember that all feelings pass.

      16. Celebrate Small Wins

      In a goal-obsessed society, it’s easy to bounce from one milestone to the next without savoring our successes. Make time to celebrate your wins—no matter how small, and focus on enjoying the journey rather than the destination.

      17. Allow Yourself to Feel Happy

      Many of us find it challenging to enjoy a calm, “normal” life. Give yourself permission to enjoy a drama-free existence and focus on finding pleasure in your daily experiences.

      18. Practice Mindfulness

      Noticing how we feel and what’s around us right now is an effective way of getting out of our heads, detaching from our worries, and returning to the experience of what it’s truly like to be alive, which is key when we want to enjoy life as much as possible.

      Get inspired by this article about mindfulness: Meditation Can Change Your Life: The Power of Mindfulness

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      19. Get Outside

      Feel the wind on your face, the sun on your skin, and enjoy a good dose of Vitamin D and fresh air. Science has found that being out in nature reduces stress and increases overall well-being.

      One study found that walking in nature, compared to simply looking at nature, reduced cortisol (stress-hormone) levels and improved mood in a sample of healthy university students[4].

      20. Speak Your Mind

      When we hold back our thoughts, opinions, and desires out of fear of displeasing others, we’re not being true to ourselves. Speak up and feel uncomfortable in the short-term and you’ll enjoy life more in the long-term.

      21. Record Happy Moments

      Take photos, journal, draw—whatever you need to do to record happy moments and memories. This way, when you’re feeling down, you’ll have something to look back on to lift your spirits and help you enjoy life.

      22. Get Active

      Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving and stress-busting chemicals. Even if you’re short on time, a 20 minute walk or a few jumping jacks can do wonders for your mood.

      23. Keep Learning

      Find enjoyment through a sense of purpose, and make time to explore subjects that interest you. After all, you never know where your interest might lead!

      24. Practice Compassion

      When we can feel compassion for ourselves and compassion for others, even difficult situations become rewarding and, ultimately, more enjoyable.

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      25. Give Back

      Spending time on activities that make a difference to others, through pursuits like volunteering, helps instill a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Even though some of the activities might not be that enjoyable or exciting, the simple act of giving back is a reward in itself.

      More on How to Enjoy Life

      Featured photo credit: Adam Wilson via unsplash.com

      Reference

      More by this author

      Hannah Braime

      Hannah is a coach who believes the world is a richer place when we have the courage to be fully self-expressed.

      7 Tips for Building New Habits The 5-Step Guide to Self Care for Busy People How to Enjoy Life In a Way That Most People Don’t The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime 5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun

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      Last Updated on October 18, 2021

      9 Practical Ways to Achieve Work Life Balance in a Busy World

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      9 Practical Ways to Achieve Work Life Balance in a Busy World

      When I worked in college housing, I found myself in a position that made me so uncomfortable, I had some big choices to make. I could continue to do things the way my supervisor wanted me to, or I could look for another job. In favor of more balance, I chose the latter.

      This was a big choice for me. I was basically giving up a (rather) stable job that made me unhappy for the unknown.

      And you know what? Focusing on balance was the right thing to do.

      It was also the impetus that led me to FINALLY finish my book, Making ‘Work’ Work for You. I absolutely needed to take my work/life balance into consideration and make some drastic changes. I’ve done that. And I’ve found that this message is resonating out there in the world of higher education and many other fields.

      I wanted to share some of the tips and hacks that I’ve developed and learned over the years. These are strategies I’ve used to make the work day more palatable and improve my attitude about balance.

      1. Be Intentional on How You Schedule Your Time

      You may have one of those jobs in which one could easily be in meetings for a full day, leaving very little time to actually get your work done. Staff meetings, senior management meetings, committee meetings, supervisory meetings (also called One-on-One’s), disciplinary meetings…this list goes on and on. Where’s the balance?

      During my years as a Manager and Senior Manager, I was in meetings all the time and felt entirely too much pressure to stay late, work on the weekends, or god forbid you try to multi-task in those meetings! I’m blessed in my current position that I don’t have that problem – but I think a person can be much more intentional about time is scheduled during the work day.

      In the first place, you know the saying, “if you don’t control your calendar, it will control you.” So control it (I have a great planner for that!). You need work time? Schedule it. Call it just that: WORK TIME.

      I currently hold blocks of time as work-time and in the “location” section of Outlook, I write down what I want to get done during that section of time:

      • work on the science grant
      • clean up email box
      • web site changes
      • clean desk

      And I try to do this at least one full week in advance so that I don’t get overwrought with meetings before I save time for me.

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      However, don’t fill your entire calendar lest you get in trouble for not being available. I look at my recurring meetings first – which days are my busiest meeting days and which days are very open. I usually schedule a 2 to 3 hour block at a time, at least 2 to 3 times each week. My current supervisor actually really likes this strategy and has begun to try it for herself.

      If you are working for a company who schedules a great many meetings, you may need to speak with your supervisor regarding your need to schedule more work time; especially if those recurring meetings are frequent.

      Give yourself a month to get used to the meeting schedule, and then you can approach your supervisor about options you have to delegate or remove some of those meetings from your calendar.

      2. Deal with Additional Priorities and Opportunities

      Working in higher education, I haven’t always had the luxury of getting to decide for myself what’s important. But in considering how you are spending your time, think about the extra things you take on in addition to your regular work.

      I’m going to be the first person who tells you that getting involved outside of your job is super important – for the professional development, making friends, networking, etc. But you may have to limit that involvement or consider that it’s part of your free time instead of your work time. And make choices that sustain this.

      I was very active in my professional association once I moved to California, and I carried that with me a great deal. I chose to have much of my social life connected through that organization…and I chose to be involved rather than going to a movie or doing other social things on the weekends. When I became a runner, I had to further alter some of these choices of how to spend my time outside of work – I saw fewer movies and was less involved in my professional association. And then, during times when my volunteer work was really busy, I just was not training for races.

      But sometimes you really do need to make a choice between the extra work/responsibility and your home life. Saying “no” means that you can say “yes” more often.

      “Instead of saying, ‘I don’t have time,’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority’ and see how that feels.” –Courtney Carver

      Figure out what projects mean the most to you. Which extra responsibility will you enjoy the most? Which project will aid in the advancement of your career, or help you to work with someone new and influential? Really consider this before taking on a new project or committee. It’s better to do a couple things really well than have mediocre performance in a ton of things.

      Of course…there’s always the “other duties as assigned” clause in many of our job descriptions. You know what I’m talking about, they’re usually at the very bottom of the page, that “catch all” which seemingly gives your supervisor or other managers the option to throw extra projects at you. This can be tricky to navigate, especially during times when you are short staffed and surviving budget cuts. Be honest with your supervisor if you feel overwhelmed. Remember that you must communicate with peers and committee members who are sharing the workload with you.

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      It should also go without saying that you ask permission to take on professional association committee work before you volunteer. It’s a common courtesy. It gives your supervisor the chance to assist you with skill sets and/or connections that could assist in your new project or committee work. If they’ve been in your field for some time, they could even have great suggestions and recommendations for you.

      3. Find Portals for Flexibility

      If you have the luxury of a flexible work day, then you can make room for longer breaks. You can be creative with your lunch hour or come in later/leave earlier when you need to.

      Do you have the ability to work from home now and then? Will your supervisor allow that? Are you lucky enough to have one of those gigs? Make sure you keep it in perspective and get your things done. Don’t take advantage or take for granted, because you might lose it!

      The flip side of this is having no flexibility – zero, zilch, none. Your work day is rigid and you have meetings, meetings, meetings. That’s tough. You may need to build in buffers between your meetings. Don’t schedule back to back meetings. Start a meeting at 9am, and if it’s over at 10:30, don’t schedule another meeting until 11am.

      Don’t go back to the office and work before the next meeting. Take a walk, get a cup of coffee, and breathe. Control your calendar, or it will control you.

      4. Put Your Work Day into Perspective

      You know what? It’s just work. It’s meaningful for you – you put your heart and soul into it. But it’s just work. If you can’t draw the line between where your job ends and you begin….that might be a problem.

      The big thing for me was being able to realize that I was no longer going home angry. That was a beautiful thing. I took my work home – in an emotional manner – for such a long time. I would be so frustrated with the tough day and/or negative students and/or a rotten staff meeting…I’d internalized so much of it and it made me angry.

      So I needed to draw that line and say, “I’m going home and I’m going to be me.” That’s it.

      5. Find a Buffer

      You may need a buffer from your work day into your home life. If you are a live-in professional, this can be difficult. I’m lucky to have figured this out for me in my current vocation.

      For two years, I was a walking commuter and listened to podcasts on my walk to and from work. Currently, I commute by car but the travel time is about the same. I still listen to podcasts but have been on a mad audiobook phase for the past three months. Jen Sincero just rocks. This usually clears my mind from any daily funk and puts me in a lighter mood when I get home.

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      Some of you may have very long commutes and so, time in traffic further complicates your transition time. Loud music may turn into road rage, so I recommend podcasts (again – I’m a big fan), audiobooks, comfortable/slow music. Even something that you are familiar with and can sing along. But any drive home can feature these things, and you really only need a few minutes to make it happen.

      During that transition time (otherwise known as your commute home), let go of everything that happened at work that day. The work day is over. What are you looking forward to once you get there? Spouse or significant other? Family, kids? Dogs? Someone making an amazing dinner for you? A very nice glass of wine and a fire?

      Focus on one of those things to think about while you let your work day go…and SMILE — even if you have to force yourself to smile. Because even just smiling will brighten your mood.

      6. Unplug from Technology

      Even as I’m writing this, I know good and well that I struggle with this myself. My husband and I have smart phones and tablets, and I often bring my work laptop home. So I myself am not the model of unplugging. Writing for The Bulletin, Sarah Comstock addresses the fact that technology has been a double-edged sword. Advances are helpful and convenient but “have placed an enormous burden of relentless pressure on people as expectations rise in parallel with the speed of technological progress.”

      Computers and gadgets are suddenly able to do just about anything; as human beings, we need to recognize that we can’t do everything. Being able to get away from our devices and technology is paramount to finding work/life balance.

      In the first place, the main reason we add our work email to our phones is for convenience and flexibility. Having that connection allows us to respond to certain requests maybe between meetings, or while otherwise occupied. It’s most certainly not meant to keep us from our families or friends or to occupy our down time. You pull out the laptop with the intention of doing some personal research or maybe you are checking your bank account, and the next thing you know you’re opening Outlook and responding to emails. Suddenly a 15-minute task turns into an hour, or two. Next, there’s the itching desire to “quickly check email” while you are at a restaurant with your significant other or friends and there you go again – you get caught up in an email chain of crap that clearly could wait until the next day.

      Does any of this sound like you? It’s me too, much of the time. Some different strategies to consider include…

      7. Do a “Detox” from Some of the Apps on Your Phone That Suck up Your Time

      These apps could include social media, games, fitness, or sports viewing. Based on a challenge I learned about on the Rich Roll podcast, for the entire month of June 2015, I took all social media off my phone. I did not check in anywhere, I did not tweet or post on Facebook, there were no new Instagram shots in my feed.

      That gave me some balance when spending time with family and friends – it was nice to just be with them and not otherwise occupied with distractions.

      8. Tackle Your Cell Phone Stuff

      Consider whether your employer requires you to have a department-issued cell phone; and if your institutional culture dictates that you have access to your email all the time. One of my previous institutions did require a department-issued phone with work email intact. I received compensation for this, but it was expected that email notifications be turned on and the focus be on staying up to date with all communication.

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      Thankfully, that is not the current culture for me. I do have work email on my phone, but notifications are turned off; and, in fact, from time to time I think about removing work email from my phone because I’d just as soon not have to worry about it. But given that my boss has work email on her phone, I model that example. And our classified staff members are not required to have email on their phone.

      If the culture of your institution or your department requires this – don’t be a rogue employee for the sake of balance. But consider other ways that you can insure that your work email doesn’t dominate your device. Are you able to turn off the work-related phone on the weekends or at night? Can you talk to your supervisor about expected response times?

      No one can check email 24 hours a day and still expect to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the office. That is NOT work/life balance.

      9. Set a Time You Spend on Checking Emails

      Try to keep your email at the office from dominating your day. I’m doing the best I can to open, read, and respond/delete to my emails as soon as I get into Outlook, and then close the application until the end of the day. I try to be at “Inbox Zero” before I go home. This insures that I’m not wrongly multitasking during the work day (which, by the way, there is no such thing as multitasking) or spending too much unnecessary time on email when there are projects to complete.

      A new strategy I’m employing is to not open my email until I return from my lunch break. This was something my current supervisor read about in an article, and I really love the reasoning behind it. When you start the day with email, you are letting others dictate your priorities rather than controlling these yourself. If the email truly is an emergency, that person will call you or come find you.

      Hit up your main priorities in the morning, and then settle into the questions after you get some food. I’m enjoying the productivity of my morning and the peace of mind I feel because I’m not letting others dictate my work day.

      Essential to unplugging and finding balance is the notion of separating. Don’t multitask your work and your life. Unless part of your job is posting to social media daily, leave all that stuff at home during the work day. Do you need Facebook and Twitter open on your computer while you try to write that report (or get your email to “Inbox Zero”)? In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport suggests “the overuse of social media unwittingly cripples our ability to success in the world of knowledge work.”

      Social media is lots of fun, but in the office it’s just a diversion that’s keeping you from finishing your vital tasks. The sooner you get your stuff done, the sooner you get home.

      If you must make a personal call, check in with your significant other, or connect with your family; you can do so by taking a quick break and making your call from the break room or outside.

      The Bottom Line

      You’re probably scratching your head by now because most of these tips seem SO easy. They are! You just need to make the commitment to yourself, make the effort, and then go for it. You can do this!

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      Featured photo credit: Simon Migaj via unsplash.com

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