I love to hustle but I also love to enjoy life – it is short after all. People throw out the phrase “work life balance” as if making a three word statement will make your life the best it can be. Is it true that we should all have a work life balance? Of course. Is it easy? If it were, we wouldn’t have come up with the phrase.
In a world that runs literally around the clock these days with access to the internet, it leaves us in this space where we can begin to feel like we should be working every minute of every day. Only allowing ourselves that occasional vacation, or short periods of downtime. Working ourselves around the clock with short, occasional breaks is certainly not creating a work life balance. Taking all of our time and turning it into free time is not a good work life balance either (although let’s admit it, how many of us really ever get to do that?).
Yesterday was a good reminder for me about what a work life balance is. Lately I have been hustling to get my new product line and my blog out in front of more people with more visibility and in turn, hopefully more sales. Yesterday was Monday and I woke up with my usual invigorated Monday morning excitement to get working. I gave myself my usual hour in the morning to wake up, eat a banana, have some water, and then I got to work. My work is from home, on the computer and I’ve got to say I love that part of my job. I love being an entrepreneur because it means I can work from where I want. With our recent move to Tenmile Lake on the Oregon Coast, I went from a view of an eight foot high wood plank fence outside my window and the roof of our neighbor’s house to an amazing view of the lake and forest and all of the wildlife they contain. It’s been incredible for my sense of well-being to be surrounded in nature – even as I work all day.
After I stopped and had lunch yesterday I realized it was a gorgeous day out. Sun was shining, no wind, warm for March - 51 degrees. An absolutely beautiful day. I had been deep in thought and wrapped up in my work all morning and excited to get back to what I was doing after I ate lunch but that little voice inside my head said to get outside. Often, I tell that little voice to shut up, I’ve got work to do but yesterday, I decided to listen.
I hopped up, put on my sweatshirt and ran up the fifty-five steps to our driveway where my sweetie was working on the equipment for his business. I told him we should get out on the lake for an hour or so while it’s nice. He was all wrapped up in his work too and reluctantly agreed to go. We were both SO glad we listened to my gut feeling. We hopped in the boat and went for a ride across the lake, down the canal and over to the southern portion of the lake. It was a stunning day. The bluest skies with hardly a cloud in sight save for a few small, fluffy ones. The lake was as blue as it gets (which meant the water was cold, but it sure was pretty).
Once we were both out in nature, on the water, enjoying ourselves, we couldn’t imagine the idea that we might have stayed home and missed such an amazing moment in our lives. We sat in the back of the boat over by an island on the south lake, admiring an old paddlewheel boat turned floating house with its green grass, park like setting surrounding it. Imagining what it would be like to live in that spot in that really unique home. The sun was so warm, we had our sweatshirts off, just soaking up the sun while it lasted.
Eventually the sweetie received a couple of business calls and the sun was starting to wane, meaning the temperatures would start to drop, so we headed home with smiles on our faces. It is such a joy to get into nature, experience life from a different vantage point, and breathe in fresh air while the sun warms our skin. It’s a practice that breathes life back into us both. It inspires us in ways that we aren’t even aware of. It makes the hustle all worth it.
Now, I understand not everyone lives on a lake with a boat and can just hop out there for a ride, but you can still do this no matter where you live. There is nature everywhere around us, we just have to find it. At our old house, we lived in a huge tract of homes with hundreds of homes all tucked side by side… paved streets and concrete sidewalks. However, just a couple blocks away, there was a nice dirt trail up a hill where we could look over the whole valley and see for miles across a wonderful desert landscape. When the weather gave us the opportunity, we would grab some water and walk those couple of blocks over to the desert trail and have a little hike. Giving us that new perspective, making life feel like it’s worth living and always returning with smiles on our faces. Maybe you live in a city? Maybe your nature takes a few minute drive to get to? You can still do it! It’s worth it and it may even be vital to our health.
That’s what I was reminded of yesterday – that the work life balance is really solved, resolved, fixed, by nature. If you can find a way to get more moments in your life experiencing nature, I can bet money that it would free up a lot of stress and it would improve your health. Really think about it. Where can you go that would get you out into nature? Where can you travel to that helps you have a new perspective while you’re there? Find that place and go there as often as your gut feeling tells you to. It doesn’t have to take up the whole day, it doesn’t have to be super special, it just needs to be a place where you are separated from the hustle and bustle of life by some dirt, plants, trees, or water. Whatever you can find will work!
What nature spot to you like to frequent to recharge your spirit?