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Work, rest and play

Does anyone remember that ridiculous advertising slogan from many years ago: “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play?” It was definitely a catchy slogan, and I’m sure as you read this that many people of a certain vintage will be humming the line in their heads! However, as with most advertising claims it doesn’t really stand up to any kind of detailed scrutiny. If only life was that simple – that munching on a magic chocolate bar once every day would somehow lead to a far better work/life balance!

I guess the balance between working and resting is something that we have always struggled with as human beings. We’ve been thinking recently about how God calls us all as human beings to work and also to rest on a regular weekly basis. Its not just a friendly piece of advice from God that we take an occasional break, but actually a command that He gives to us. In fact, its so important that God makes it one of his 10 greatest rules for living! And yet, my suspicion is that we continue to struggle with the need to fully rest from our work. And in today’s hyper-connected culture, we find it increasingly different to switch off from our work. A few years back I went hillwalking with a friend, and we set off in his car at around 6am on a Saturday morning. My friend had a smart watch that notified him when he received a work email, and I can remember him getting some notifications even at that time of the day! I wonder if you’ve ever received an email from someone and looked closely at the time it was sent, only to realise that it was around 3am in the morning! Surely there must be more to life than sending work-related emails in the wee small hours??

In my own experience, there are certain simple things I can do that actually make a lot more difference to my work/life balance than a daily Mars bar! These include the following:

  • not checking my work emails on my day off or on holiday.
  • not getting my work emails delivered to my phone.
  • not checking work emails late at night so they disturb my sleep.

I don’t share any of these tips as a way of saying that I have everything sorted and the perfect work/life balance. Far from it I’m afraid. But I think we all have to start somewhere and make some conscious efforts to “set apart” time for rest that is different to the majority of our stress-filled, hectic lives. Maybe there are some small changes that you could make today to help you work, rest and play?

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