Americans spend more time working than Western Europeans, according to the 2005 study Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why so different? Although necessary for overall wellness, the ability to juggle the demands of work, family, and time for self remains a rarity.
“We [all] need to escape from life’s pressures so the mind, body, and spirit are balanced,” says Dr. Harold E. Moore Jr., assistant professor of Family & Preventive Medicine with Emory Clinic in Decatur, Georgia. “We constantly push [ourselves] to the limit, but we never take time out to replenish. That’s how we become stressed out.”
Achieving the right balance is different for everyone and depends on individual interests, work demands, and physical stamina.
Weekend warrior Three-day trips offer a quick, yet leisurely way to reenergize. Go by plane, sea, or air to a destination a couple of hours away. Or be a tourist in your own hometown. It doesn’t matter where you go, just go. For ideas, check out www.retreatsonline.com and www.allgetaways.com.
The goodtime gang “Everyone needs a night out with friends, just to be yourself,” says Michelle W. King of Divine Event Management and Consultants L.L.C. (www.divineeventconsultants.com) in Mesa, Arizona. King recommends hanging out with friends at least once a month and designating one person to plan the excursion. From pamper parties to golfing to dinner and a movie, the possibilities are endless.
Escape by book Grab a good piece of literature. No time? Take it on your business trips or enjoy it during your lunch break. Let the African American Literature Book Club (www.aalbc.com) help you find the perfect read.
To serve, with love Improve your community while helping others by volunteering. Feed the hungry, help build a house, or tutor kids. To find a volunteer opportunity in your area that fits your interests, skills, and schedule, visit www.volunteermatch.org.
Here are some activities that can help you recharge:
Get grounded Playing in the dirt isn’t just for kids. Gardening can be a therapeutic way to de-stress. Experience nature by planting a garden with your favorite flowers, herbs, or vegetables. For tips, visit www.hgtv.com.
Leisure pursuits Whether its photography, painting, or salsa dancing, a diversion once or twice a week can break up the monotony of everyday life. Check the local newspaper, yellow pages, universities, and community centers for classes being offered.