I’ll admit that I’m one of those that kind of sees my work as play sometimes seeing as how I get to write pretty much what I want when I want and still keep my bosses happy. Plus, there’s that old saying if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, blow a big raspberry and shoot the moon at that saying if you feel like it since whether you like your job or not, work is work and it’s a lot different from play unless your work happens to be literal play. Even then, it’s work.
Why am I hammering on that point you might ask? Because the body knows the difference between work and play, and so does the mind. There has to be a time when all that effort is just for you and no one else. There’s a time when you have fun on the clock and a time when the clock is flung out the window, metaphorically speaking hopefully, and you get to not work on a timetable and just enjoy yourself. It could be anything from sleeping in past your normal waking hours to going out and experiencing life in a way that has nothing to do with work, but you need it, and you need to give yourself that time no matter how much work might be piled up just waiting for you to pay attention to it.
Say no to the stress.
Look, I get it, during the workweek a lot of us can’t really just ‘get away’ and have a good time. Even having a beer on the porch is sometimes a little too much since it takes away from whatever we might have going at the moment. But seriously, you need that space, and I’ll explain why:
- Too much stress isn’t good for the body: Like I said, your body knows when it’s time to work and when it’s time to relax, and if you force it to, your body will actually fight you in order to get that relaxation time. It’s kind of like boxing in a way, while the spirit of the individual feels like they could go on and on, the body will say, in its own way “Shh, you have no idea what you’re doing”. Yes, I did get that from Million Dollar Baby, and it’s a smart line of thought to hold onto.
- Your mind will even fight you: Your body has built-in mechanisms that will automatically hit certain buttons when it comes to your inability to recognize when you’ve had too much, and even if it’s not instantaneous, your mind will find ways to remind you that you’re not a robot and that you don’t function well without sleep, food, and relaxation. The third is important because, well, you need some down time to recharge.
- Stress is a killer: Yeah, laugh all you want about it, but when you’ve had a nervous breakdown and feel your heart pumping fast enough to scare the living hell out of you while your mind is stuck in overdrive, then you can talk. Until then, it’s best to be diligent to make sure things don’t come to that since stress can cause all sorts of health issues ranging from lack of sleep to hallucinations to heart disease and other ill effects that YOU DON’T WANT.
- Doing what you love can still be stressful: Being a writer might not sound stressful, but like any other job it has its moments since deadlines can be stressful, dealing with life outside of work can be stressful, and just like any other job, stress will find a way to assert itself in one way or another. Doing what you love is a good way to go when seeking work, but it won’t always be peaches and cream, you’re bound to find a few pits in there from time to time that will upset your passion for work.
It’s very easy to tell people to say no to stress, but it’s harder to practice in this day and age since earning money, security, and keeping your boss happy is important if you want to keep your job. If you’re as lucky as I am you have bosses that like you, but even then, stress is going to find a way in, and it’s important to have an out when you need it. That’s what we’ll get into next since just talking about stress can be stressful.
So, how do you eliminate stress?
This is actually kind of a personal question since most people have their own way of dealing with stress when it appears in their lives. Some folks might stay at home and just plop down on the couch and watch a full day of Netflix or Starz or HBO Max. Hey, I’ve been there, and veggin’ out is highly enjoyable sometimes. But stress relief comes in a lot of different forms, and it’s wise to find out which one works best for you. Here are just a few that you can think about.
- Netflix n’ Chill: Oh yeah, it’s still a thing, especially since the streaming giant is still doing just fine when it comes to the streaming wars. But you could think about Starz, HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount+, Disney+ (don’t knock it, they have a lot of good movies and shows), Peacock, and a host of other channels that offer great programming. Grab a few of your favorite snacks, some drinks, kick back in your sweatpants and just enjoy whatever you can find. The best thing is that this is a low-cost way to relieve stress and you can even conk out for a nap if the feeling strikes you.
- Exercise: Admittedly, this is one of the better ways to practice stress relief since it keeps you in shape, it boosts your energy levels, and it can be therapeutic in a lot of ways. The trick here is to find a gym and discover which times it has the fewest people since unless you’re an extrovert and like to be around people, any gym can get crowded very quickly, and trying to get the equipment you want is kind of tough at certain hours. But if you head to the gym with your routine in mind and the idea that you’re just there to work off the tension of the day or the week, then you’re set.
- Sex: Oh hells to the yes, right? If you have someone in your life that enjoys having sex whenever possible then you’re all set. But if you need to find someone that could be a little stressful. But if you have that special someone, then sex can be a great way to ease the tension and get rid of that unwanted stress for both of you. Going solo might not be considered to be the most envious position, but believe it or not, it’s still great for stress reduction. Some might say that abstinence is best, but while some of them might be great at self control, others might have suffered a bad episode at some point and are more bitter than anything when it comes to the release of their sexual tension.
- Find a hobby: You might have heard a lot of people say this same thing over the years, and might have rolled your eyes more than once. But the thing about a hobby is that you don’t have to do what people want you to do. If you’re hobby is taking a walk around the neighborhood to see if there are any new houses up for sale, then so be it. If your hobby costs you an arm and a leg to enjoy, then that’s on you. But a hobby tends to put your mind at ease, especially since it takes your mind off of work for a bit. One good word of advice though is to not find a hobby that’s worse than work. No matter who gives it, that’s not a great way to go. You need to have something in life you actually enjoy.
You need to find something that can count as play in your life, a moment or series of moments that will allow you to be lazy, to just do what you want to do without thinking about work at all. The moment you start to play is when you’re finally taking care of yourself for a change.
Work is important, without a doubt.
Of course work is important, it helps us to pay our bills, it funds the lifestyles we choose, and it helps us to be a valuable part of society. Our jobs are what help us to survive, to thrive, and in many cases to help out our economy. But our jobs, even if they define what we do and who we are to a degree, are meant to be put aside when possible. Granted, some folks are on-call a lot and some have to be available at just about any time of day or night. But the point is that there are times when we absolutely need to be allowed to have a day or two to ourselves just to recharge and enjoy the life we’ve been working toward so that we don’t miss it entirely.
WTR? (Why’s That Radass?)
We’ve been there, you’ve been there, a lot of us have been to that point where the stress of what we do and have to endure eats at us until we’re raw and anxious and unable to be approached. The need to take it easy, to just kick back and do you for a change, is something that everyone needs to hear now and then. Take this advice my Radasser’s, know when to kick your feet up and say to hell with it, at least for a day or so.