After two very stressful weeks, the uncomfortable emotional pressure I was feeling finally broke. In large part, this was thanks to a conversation I had with a friend who has a knack for bringing me back to myself.
She reminded me that I need to factor life into the work that I’m doing. Life doesn’t wait for debts to be repaid or for that very real midwinter need for proper sunshine to pass. I can’t put my life on hold no matter how hard I try.
Right before we spoke, I was reading a New York Times article titled Why Are Young People Pretending To Love Work? The piece explores the rise of #hustle culture and the way that overwork has become the norm.
What stood out to me was the theme of spirituality and religion that ran throughout. The author writes, “I’ve noticed that the concept of productivity has taken on an almost spiritual dimension.” Interest in organized religion is falling and people are searching for meaning and community in their work like never before.
As a writer and coach who works from home, I have to make a conscious effort to go find community. This is not something I initially prioritized when I started working online and it’s proving to be an essential part of me being able to do my best work.
Since realizing the importance of micro-communities, I have surrounded myself with people whom I can call or spend time with in good times and in bad. People who remind me that life’s for the living. People who are able to offer perspective when mine is making it difficult for me to see all my options.
Unlike the work culture discussed in that article, however, the people around me do not glorify overwork. In fact, we frequently remind ourselves of what truly matters when it comes to the limited time we have on this planet.
Self-care. Family. Art. Community. Health. Good food. Enough sleep. Inspiration. Service. Quiet. Stillness. Faith. Face-to-face connection. Creative expression. Nature. The list goes on.
Just when I thought that I had figured out how I want to show up as a professional and make money, I needed to go back to the drawing board. I hadn’t fully budgeted—in money and time—for the life part of my work. The part that’s just about enjoying the fruits of my labour.
All work and no play is not what life is meant to me, regardless of what hashtags are trending on social media.
So, how are you making space for the life things that matter?