“What’s going on?” I asked.
“I’m so tired,” he replied. “I have so much work to do. I’m managing all these deadlines. There’s all this office politics that I’m trying to stay away from. When it comes to the evenings and the weekends, I’m too drained to do anything so all I end up doing is watching tv and going to sleep.”
Have you ever experienced something like this, where your time is consumed with work and you find yourself too tired to enjoy life?
This is one of the classic examples of “living to work,” as opposed to “working to live.”
“Living to work” refers to the hamster-wheel day-to-day scenario where your life is focused on work. You get up in the morning, go to work, come home tired, eat and sleep. Then the pattern repeats the next day, and the next day, with no end in sight.
On the other hand, “working to live” approaches your work as being in service to life itself. You work because it gives you life. Your work is an expression of your vitality and expands your capacity to unleash your creative energy. In this paradigm, you embrace the idea that life is meant to be lived.
So what do you do if you want to make the switch from “living to work” to “working to live?”
You can do what I offered to my client and ask yourself this simple question.
“What nourishes you?”
Nourishing yourself means engaging in activities that give you energy and feed your soul. Just as a plant needs sun, water, nutrients, care and feeding, you yourself need continual nourishment.
I come across many people who give so much of their energy to their work and to others that sometimes they forget that they need to nourish and replenish themselves.
Your nourishment and self-care is just as important as what you give to others.
If you’d like to be more deliberate in your nourishment, you’re welcome to play with this week’s coaching assignment:
- Make a list of 5-10 activities or things that nourish you.
Example: When I think about things that make me feel good, I like getting massages. That’s one thing. I also like taking the spinning class at the gym. That’s two. What else? If I think about actual things, I feel nourished when I eat healthy foods like salads and greens. I like taking some time to read a good book and spending some time in nature. Gosh, this is fun. Even thinking about these things is making me feel lighter.
- From your list, pick one thing to do this week.
Example: My whole list looks exciting, but I also like this idea of making sure I commit to doing one. This way I don’t overwhelm myself with trying to do too much, which is my tendency. Okay, I guess I’ll pick spending time in nature. The weather is nice right now, so I’ll go to the beach this weekend. I haven’t done that in a while, and it would feel great to put my feet in the sand.
- Notice how it feels to make a decision and to commit to doing one thing that nourishes you.
Example: I feel more energy after making the list, and I feel even more excited that I get to go to the beach! I forgot how important it is to make me a priority in my life. I’d like to make this a regular habit in my life.
Even if you’re not feeling overwhelmed with work, you can still take on this week’s assignment and be more deliberate in creating a life that nourishes you.
The simple teaching of today’s post is this:
You increase your well-being when you take time for activities that nourish you.
And when you increase your well-being, you expand your capacity to give even more of your gifts, talents and creative energy. Nourishing you and taking care of you means there’s more of you to share with the world.
When you start with one nourishing activity and make it a habit, you can then add one more, and then one more.
Imagine if you filled more and more of your everyday life with activities that nourish your heart and soul, to the point that all of life itself felt so unbelievably good.
This kind of life is possible. All you have to do is take that first nourishing step.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about today’s post, and to hear about what activities nourish you. Please leave a comment below. And if you’d like some support in creating a more nourishing life, I’d be happy to talk with you. You can sign up for a free life coaching consultation by clicking here.