How many of us are counting the minutes until the end of every working week?
“Thank God it’s Friday!” is echoed the world over by millions of individuals. It’s a sigh of relief that the pressure is off and now we can play. And play we do! On Friday afternoons, bars are filled with people who begin relaxing by having a few drinks. Often the weekend is jammed with activities that we haven’t been able to fit into an overcrowded schedule. Some people play so hard that they’re exhausted by the time they go back to work on Monday.
The attitude that work and play are separate entities and that they shouldn’t commingle is one of the primary causes of stress on the job. We need to cultivate an attitude of relaxation and play toward our work if we are to survive our many years in the workforce. This doesn’t mean that we must become passive, never trying to get ahead or improve our efficiency. It does, however, mean that we should begin to check out our underlying attitudes about combining work, play and relaxation.
Expectations are common tension producers. We expect to get all our work done in a certain amount of time, with the complete cooperation of other people. This creates permanent tension because we are always waiting for the work to get done. Let’s face it–all the work never gets done.
How many times have you heard someone say she’s going to relax when all her work is finished? This type of individual usually is guilt-ridden when she finally does relax, and an inner voice constantly reminds her she didn’t totally complete the work. When we focus all our energy on the final result, we never enjoy the process.
Another area of tension comes from identifying ourselves too closely with what we do. Who are you? “I’m a student.” But we need to remember that we are not what we do. What we do is merely an expression of our energy. We have many different energies, and they can and should change throughout life. I continue to ask myself what I want to do when I grow up, and I hope you do too. More importantly, I hope I never grow up.
The notion of growing up seems to have the connotation that fun is a distant memory. If we could somehow keep a lighthearted outlook we might all stop waiting to have fun. Embracing fun is not a frivolous concept. It is also does not have to be a planned activity. We can be the fun we’re seeking by how we approach our work, our-co-workers, our loved ones and ourselves.