Building a Life You Don’t Need to Escape From

SWAPNIL KAMAT and ARUNIMA KAMAT list out ways to create a well-rounded life for oneself

”Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin

We love to go on holidays.They allow us to explore new places, relax, have fun and most importantly – they give us a break from ‘regular life.’ They give us something to look forward to and help us get through a weary week at work.

If vacations are so great, why did we start with that quote, you might wonder. Are we saying that we should never go on vacations? Absolutely not. The point of the quote is not whether we should stop vacationing or not. The point is that rather than only enjoying our life while on vacation, holiday, or weekend, we should strive to make our lives the ones we want to be living – every day of the week.

Instead of seeing vacations as your annual opportunity to escape life… craft a life you don’t need to escape from.Simply put, design a well-rounded life for yourself, one that provides a sense of peace on most days.

So, how do you do it?

Make Relationships a Priority

The old adage is true, “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”

Strong, healthy and loving relationships bring joy into our lives that cannot be matched by income, title, or career achievements. Therefore, invest in the relationships that bring you happiness, make you feel loved, heard and respected. Spend time with your loved ones, family and friends and you will notice that your quality of life significantly increases.

This also means that when there are people in your life you do not feel supported by, make you feel bad about yourself, or you simply don’t connect with – try to have less of them in your life.

Work hard but remember that work is not everything

If we want to achieve professional success, if we want that big paycheck that brings us closer to a life of comfort and luxury, if we want to be respected – we need to work hard. Good work also gives us a sense of purpose and fulfilment, especially if you find yourself doing something that you truly enjoy. However, we need to constantly remind ourselves that while work is an important aspect of our lives, it’s not the only one. We also need to dedicate time to things like health, family, social events, our hobbies – the various components of life that we deem important.

Be wise about your career choices

Potentially the best way to design a life that you do not want escape from is to identify your passion and find a way to pursue it.

This doesn’t mean that your day job has to be your dream career, but perhaps look for ways that your day job can facilitate your dream life and passion. At the very least, your career should allow you to pursue your passion in your free time, and allow you to have happiness outside of work. Going into work should not stress you out either.

Sure, work will not be sunshine 24/7. However, it should not cause you to lose hair, sacrifice relationships that you care about, or dread your Monday through Friday.

Take planned breaks and holidays

Breaks, long-weekends and vacations should not be a hiatus from ‘life’ but simply an extension and a natural part of it. Most companies give their employees a certain number of paid leaves and vacation days. Use them through the year, not just for one big annual break. Space out your breaks in a way where you get time off every couple of months, whether it is a mini-vacation of 2-3 days, a long weekend, a big holiday with family (or friends) or just a day off in the middle of the week. Plan all your breaks, at the start of the year.

Guard your time

Not every pursuit in life deserves your energy. Be aware of what is truly worth the hours of our one, short, important life. Those who have designed a life they love have not done so by saying yes to every opportunity or invitation that comes their way. They have done so by guarding their time ruthlessly for the things that matter most and by learning to say ‘no’ graciously to the others.

Treat yourself well

The foundation of a well-rounded life is keeping your health, both physical and mental, paramount. Look after your body by eating well, getting proper sleep and exercising. Invest in your mental health by allowing yourself ‘me time’, binge-watching a show on Netflix, carving out time for hobbies. Indulge yourself too, occasionally. Treat yourself to a gift, take yourself out for a fancy meal, buy those pair of shoes that you have had your eyes on for a while.

The formula to designing a life you do not feel the need to escape from is actually simple – find out what makes you happy, do more of it. Figure out what makes you unhappy and eliminate it. Remember, if you do not take the effort to thoughtfully design your life and environment, you are always going to find yourself wanting to escape your everyday life.

Arunima Kamat heads Learning Research at Work Better; Swapnil Kamat is Founder-CEO of Work Better.

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