Your job is important, but it isn’t everything.
A career doesn’t just fall into place, so why do we expect other areas of our life to? Mapping out the life we want outside our career requires just as much thought and planning. There’s so much more to life than your career, and a more balanced lifestyle could be the secret to a more meaningful life. Here are 10 areas of your life that you should cultivate outside your career.
Investing in your health is one of the best investments you can make. Health isn’t the newest flat tummy tea, magic vitamin, or six-pack ab challenge. It’s about routines that embrace balance. The basics of living a healthy lifestyle are drinking enough water, fueling your body with proper nutrients, embracing movement every day, and getting adequate sleep. If you’re a beginner, start with daily walks. Get enough sleep. Make a goal for how much water you want to consume in a day. Make sure you’re fueling your body and getting the necessary nutrients from food.
Unfortunately, the body positivity movement has hijacked the health conversation for women. But real body positivity doesn’t require a marketing campaign. The best advice I can give is to listen to your body. Do an honest reflection of where you are and set goals for where you want to be.
Health is about routines that embrace balance.
Having a hobby is one of the most neglected areas of a well-balanced lifestyle! Watching Netflix and scrolling on Instagram might be fun, but they aren’t exactly hobbies. A hobby is an activity done for enjoyment, but it also requires some skill. Having a hobby allows you to express yourself creatively and develop discipline. It’s a great way to enjoy time by yourself or to spend time with others. There are endless hobbies such as baking bread, nail art, painting, playing a musical instrument, or playing a sport. The best part is that you don’t have to be good at it! You can start as a beginner, work on your skill, and just enjoy yourself.
Homemaking is a huge responsibility that’s a full-time occupation for many women. But the best part about homemaking is that anyone can do it. Whether you have a shoebox apartment or a three-story house, whether you’re a career woman or a stay-at-home mom, you can take care of your space. For a beginner, homemaking might look like making your bed every day or learning to make a signature meal. It’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself; the full-time working woman might not keep the same home as a full-time housewife, but that doesn’t mean her efforts go in vain. Consider keeping a clean, beautiful, and comfortable home, and you’ll be on your way to domestic goddess status.
Whether you have a shoebox apartment or a three-story house, you can take care of your space.
Generally, people aim for a high-power career to find fulfillment and to make a lot of money. Making lots of money is glamourized – but it means nothing if you don’t know how to manage your money! Think about all the rich celebrities who have lost it all. Learn how to budget, start investing, and get a good credit score. Budgeting is a critical skill if you’re interested in being a stay-at-home mom and living on one income. You work hard for your money, so make your money work for you.
Education is more than just collecting degrees. Education should be about a lifelong commitment to learning. The commitment to learning indicates humbleness and shows strength in character. Learning looks different for everyone. For some, it might be getting an advanced degree. For others, it might be reading their favorite book. Don't remain stagnant; invest in your education, commit to learning from your mistakes, and aim to become your best self.
Don’t neglect your femininity. Femininity isn’t a costume; it runs deep to the core of womanhood. The best way to tune in to your femininity is to nurture your mind, body, and spirit, and to present yourself in a way that demonstrates this to the world. Choose flattering feminine silhouettes over the latest trends. Care for your body by prioritizing skincare over makeup. Embrace feminine virtues like softness, generosity, and empathy, and pair those qualities with strong moral courage. Respect yourself by respecting your boundaries. Know your worth. Yes, wearing a dress and throwing on heels will signal femininity – I don’t discourage either. But it’s the inside work that will allow your feminine vitality to shine through.
Embrace feminine virtues like softness, generosity, and empathy, paired with strong moral courage.
Spirituality is a connection to the transcendent. It’s about having a sense of purpose in your life. For some, religion can help achieve this goal. For others, it looks completely different. Spirituality is deeply personal and varies from individual to individual. You likely don’t want to neglect this one area of your life, as research shows that religion/spirituality is associated with a better quality of life.
Let’s face it – relationships are challenging right now. It’s hard to find friends as an adult. The dating scene can be frustrating. People feel so disconnected even though connection to everyone and anyone is available with the click of a button.
Considering that you have likely been social distancing to some degree for the past year, there has never been a better time to prioritize the people you love. Call your parents. Reach out to an old friend. Be there for someone during a difficult time. This Maya Angelou quote sums it up: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
9. Time in Nature
Okay, hear me out. Time in nature is so important and so overlooked. There’s much more to life than being inside buildings. Take some time to disconnect – or perhaps reconnect – in nature. Leave the electronics at home, trade the car horns for silence and the city lights for stars. Walk to your closest park and observe, seek awareness, and immerse yourself in your surroundings. Life is fast-paced, so take any opportunity you can to slow down. You won’t regret taking the time to immerse yourself in nature.
There’s much more to life than being inside buildings, so take time to disconnect and reconnect.
10. Character Development
There’s all the advice in the world on how to be successful, but less so on how to be a good person. In a world that values freedom, autonomy, and choice to do what you want when you want, you can choose to be virtuous. Do an honest reflection of your character. Do you practice humility? Do you embrace honesty even when it’s uncomfortable? Do you stand up for what’s right despite the consequences? None of us will ever be perfect, but we owe it to ourselves to aim to be the best versions of ourselves.
Whew – that was a lot! The good news is that all 10 areas are tangible, and they don’t need to be perfected all at once. Take these one at a time and watch them blossom.
This list goes to show just how much there is to life outside a career. When we feel a void in our lives, it’s easy to believe that we need more money, experiences, or material items. A career can provide these things, but it won’t necessarily fill the void of meaning. I believe that meaning can be found closer to home, and for you, it could be found in one of the areas listed above.
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