It’s kind of accepted these days that working adults should feel tired and worn out 100% of their waking lives. There’s something wrong if they don’t. When we turn up to work, we want our colleagues to look like they’re just about clinging on to their health and sanity. When we say “How are ya?”, we want to hear people say “I’m hangin’ in there”, or “I’ve had better days”. At least people who say things like “I’m fine” or “Great” should certainly not look fine or great. They should look like they just produce that word without thinking, along with a soulless stare into nothingness, their minds not being able to summon up any other response. Anyone who seems genuinely happy or healthy is viewed with the utmost suspicion. They must be work-shy, living out of mommy and daddy’s pockets, or – even worse – involved in banking, government or some other dishonest pursuit which has its fingers in our pockets.
This culture of work and keeping busy is all wrong. It’s not good for people at all. Many of us are ground down to the point where we can’t see a way out. We listen to people who come out with trite phrases such as “idle hands are the Devil’s workshop” and “we often miss opportunity because it looks like hard work”, as if there were only two options – complete idleness and complete burn-out. Finding a balance isn’t talked about.
Many who try to find a good balance between work and real life will find those around them turn on them. They probably won’t know about it unless they spot the knives being sharpened in the rear-view mirror, however. The sharpest blade will be drawn by your boss, who, after wholeheartedly agreeing with your need to work less overtime, will now chop your chances of being promoted down to zero. They might even start looking for ways to get rid of you altogether. Your parents might call you lazy and unambitious. Your kids might despise you for being at home too often, but not being able to buy them everything they demand any more. Your spouse might decide you’ve reneged on the unofficial terms of partnership and start looking for a more hardworking and generous benefactor.
The thing is, if you are serious about taking care of yourself, you just have to accept all that. If people ditch you, well, you’ve gotten rid of a burden or a parasite. If you don’t get that promotion, thank heavens, you’ve got more time to enjoy your life, not slaving away to make some fat cats even fatter. And if that means you can’t afford your mortgage, you’re living in the wrong house. Go find somewhere that you don’t have to damage your health in order to afford.
Spend the extra money on things which will make you feel good when you get out of bed –invest in some memory foam like the ones found on this page .Treat yourself to a couple weeks on the beach. Then treat the kids to a couple more weeks learning how to fish. Have a lie in on the weekends. Enjoy breakfast in bed. Turn the TV off and chat with your family. Make sure you sit down and enjoy every meal. Buy the best and healthiest fresh ingredients. Eat slowly and savor the taste. Laugh about how you used to force food down at roadside stops or in the car without tasting it.
Read books, get out into the countryside. Take up a new hobby, a new sport. Learn a language and travel to a new country every year. Talk to strangers, try to learn from them. Learn and use a new word every day. Make a new word up every other day and each it to someone.
If you have the courage and strength to do these things and really take care of yourself, it will just be a matter of time before you become unrecognizable: healthy-looking, fresh-faced and raring to go. Just the type of person who, when asked how you are, answers “every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better”, much to the chagrin of the wage-slaves you long since left behind.