Hello and happy Wednesday Dear Reader!
As usual, thank you for tuning in: today I have a really interesting piece on how to improve your life by categorizing each activity you do.
When you think of your week, often it's easy to separate in your mind the difference between "work" and "rest," but really, there are a lot of things that aren't work, but definitely don't leave you feeling rested.
Different activities and engagements in life require different attitudes, behaviors, and emotional "postures." For example, you are going to behave and think differently during an afternoon at work versus an afternoon spent at the beach with friends. Likewise, an hour of learning in class is going to look a lot different than an hour of watching a movie.
I have thought about this a lot and decided that there are 5 total categories: work, rest, play, entertainment, and learning.
By categorizing and separating out the different ways you spend your time, you can begin to customize and design a more BALANCED life. Let's explore each of the postures so you can become well acquainted with each one. Then, recognize which categories are overinflated in your life and which are being neglected.
Let's dive in!
This category is very obvious to people: we have the 40 hr work week, divided by weekends of rest. We also have all heard the mantra of "work hard, play hard." On top of these things, there is physical work, mental work, house work, and work for pay. Work is a category where some people can truly lose themselves and become addicted, OR on the converse: neglect it completely.
Have you ever met someone who you could almost solely sum up by saying what they do for a living? I know nurses or teachers who make their work their entire identity. Honestly, work can consume a person's life in more ways than by just working too much: if the only community you interact with are work friends, or if all you think or talk about is work, you are denying yourself other areas of life.
In order to be a well rounded and developed person, it's important that you expand your identity beyond the title of "nurse," "teacher," or "mom." Figure out what other parts of life you want to explore, and branch out.
Also, if you are finding that most of your days are spent without lifting a finger towards work, (especially housework,) I would encourage you to discover the joy and peace that comes from an hour of accomplishing good solid work. We are created to take satisfaction in a job well done, and I would encourage you today to not neglect the work in your own home.
This category is also very easy to identify, but I think that it is often misunderstood or even mishandled.
A lot of people confuse entertainment with rest, and often waste away entire evenings or days with their mind buried in their phones with Netflix on in the background. Unfortunately, this isn't actually "rest." Rest is about recharging yourself. It means reflecting on your life, processing things, and practicing the art of mindfulness. Focus on the here and now, and discover the peace of life.
I would also like to address the folks who believe rest isn't necessary. I have heard people pridefully mention that they don't take breaks, barely get any sleep, and never rest. This is NOT a good thing and you should not be proud of it: in fact, I am concerned for you if this is true. Obviously if you are doing this to survive, I respect that, but if you are actively choosing to neglect rest just because you don't know how to rest, I'm here to help!
Rest is all about slowing down your mind, reflecting on your life/emotions, and preparing your soul for the next bout of busyness in life. Recharge with healthy sleep, a half hour of peace, or some time with your Bible, a calming podcast, or petting your animal. Cuddle your spouse, sip on some tea or take a bath. Remove the stimulation from your life and rest in God's presence.
Play: this is one of my favorite categories! A lot of people don't really understand how important play is to their lives, and are really missing out. It is actually very crucial to spend a portion of your life in the posture of "play." Study after study has shown that play is essential to form human connections, build confidence, challenge and stimulate the brain, and learn about human relationships and your own abilities.
Remember, "play" isn't sitting on your phone and watching Netflix: it's all about stimulating and engaging your body and mind. It's about discovering more about others and yourself and challenging yourself.
Play is different for everyone: many people view play as literally playing a board game with friends, a video game, or joining an intramural sports league. I think play can be actively doing anything you enjoy: for me, it would be trying new recipes, playing with my dog, piecing together new outfits or hairstyles, picking up a Sudoku puzzle, or playing cards with friends.
Explore playful activities like reading, working out, caring for a pet, cooking, hosting friends, hiking, sports, card games, games on your phone, video games, or fun books. Honestly, if you ever need ideas, DM me. I have plenty of ideas.
I had to put this one in its own category because I don't want anyone to confuse entertainment with play, rest, or learning/development.
Entertainment is DEFINITELY an important posture of life, however, I would recommend taking entertainment with a cautious attitude as it can be addicting and time sucking. Too much entertainment makes you constantly turn your mind off without the added benefits of ACTUALLY turning your mind off the way resting does.
Entertainment would be categorized in the act of watching or experiencing something for amusement or interest. Examples are things like Netflix, Hulu, Social Media, watching a play, a movie, comedy, fluffy magazine articles, memes, short videos, and humorous pictures.
Remember when we used to look forward to our special show all week? Well now that show is on demand: the whole season of it actually. We have endless meme accounts, Instagram posts, and Hulu specials to keep us entertained and clocked out of life for YEARS. Please take this truth seriously and remember that entertainment is momentary.
I've seen myself lose an hour of my life here and there to just scrolling through memes: and honestly it always makes me feel kind of empty. I think that's the problem with entertainment: all of the benefits are in the moment. You feel momentarily distracted, happy, and stimulated, but you don't gain anything in the long term.
This is why I would recommend that you limit your entertainment and seriously take stock in how much you are indulging in each day. I think it's okay to be entertained throughout your day, but remember that if you are looking to improve or change your life, you would be better off investing in the other postures and saving entertainment for a special day or time of week.
I decided to combine learning with development because I think that they go hand-in-hand. If you are a more cerebral person, simply reading, researching and answering questions can be a satisfying and life-giving opportunity to develop as a person.
However on the other hand, you have development that is more activity and physical based. My husband is someone who is more body, and enjoys picking up a sport, hobby, physical or mental competition, and verbal spar. My sister-in-law as well is someone who enjoys going for runs or mountain biking through the forest: this is her type of development and growth.
Really any area of talent development or education is part of this posture. Learning about ourselves and the world is an extremely important part of our human development. It is how we use and develop our unique and individual talents that God has given each of us.
Learning is how we make advancements in technology and progress in science, arts, and humanities. Learning and developing helps us move forward individually, but also as a society. I always think of Da Vinci, who was was notoriously learning and developing his entire life in the arts and sciences. The enlightenment can happen in a miniature way within your own life as you explore your talents and the world around you, it doesn't need to end after you get your degree.
Incorporating learning and development into your life can improve your overall life, your happiness, and your appreciation of the life we live.
So there you have it!
Reader I would really recommend that you take stock of your own life and figure out what areas you are lacking in. By doing this, I discovered my need for more "play" and less entertainment in my life. I also discovered that I needed to take time to actually rest my brain instead of just streaming another episode of the Office.
By indulging in these other areas of life, you will find yourself becoming more developed and balanced. It can be extremely life giving and satisfying to take this journey.
I hope you feel inspired today.