Unwinding at the End of the Day: Personal Pursuits That Still Keep Your Mind Fresh
A good work-life balance seems to be the ultimate goal of every professional, and yet it can be extraordinarily difficult to achieve and maintain, especially when faced with a new leadership position that requires you to be innovative and determined. There is a tendency for new managers to show go above and beyond the call of duty, continuing to strategize and brainstorm at home.
But this is unsustainable can quickly lead to feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Your mind needs a break from the stress and worry of thinking about work, and when your mind is well-rested, you’ll be able to tackle work projects with effective vigor.
The simple act of separating work from life is key. When you leave the office, you should leave all of your work “baggage” at the office. For example, you can write a to-do list before you leave so that you don’t spend all evening trying to remember the important things you have to do tomorrow. You could also listen to some music during your commute to help relax your mind and body and get you out of “work mode.”
But the most important thing to do when you get home is to do something that you enjoy, that develops you personally and that keeps your mind sharp. While you may be tempted to just glue yourself to the couch and watch TV all evening, it’s a mind-numbing pursuit that ultimately won’t make you feel fulfilled. You need variety! Try exploring some of these hobbies to unwind at the end of the day:
- Play a musical instrument. Being musical requires you to use an entirely different area of your brain. It’s a good chance to let your “work brain” have a rest while staying focused on something fun.
- Make things with your hands. Woodworking, pottery, knitting … all of these creative hobbies allow you to focus on details that are 100 percent different from the kind of details you worry about at the office, keeping your mind agile and sharp.
- Learn forex trading. If you want to be productive with your time, try learning forex trading. If you get good at it, you can even save up for retirement. It’s like its own little strategy game. Greg Secker has a good guide to forex trading to get you started.
- Learn a new language. Even if you’re not much of a traveler, learning a new language is a mental challenge that opens many doors and allows you to connect with new friends. And regardless of whatever you remember from your high school days, learning a new language is fun! There are many online language courses and apps these days that make virtually any language accessible.
- Prioritize and plan family game night. Few things are better stress relievers than laughter and companionship. Spending time with your family will help to keep you refreshed and will make you feel like you’ve got a good handle on that work-life balance Holy Grail. Game night is the perfect way to bring everyone together.
- Take dance classes. Exercise keeps the mind sharp as well, but going to the gym can feel like a chore. Try a recreational sport instead. Dance classes are just one option! As a bonus, you’ll make plenty of non-work friends.
When you dedicate yourself to an after-work pursuit, you have something to look forward to on those days when managing a team really puts your skills to the test. And it keeps your mind off of work so that you’ll be fresh the next day. What personal pursuits keep you going? Share below!
About the Author
Cathy Habas has worked as the Managing Editor for a content marketing agency, guiding a team of writers to meet the needs of a variety of clients and to produce their very best work. She now focuses on freelance writing, editing and translating.