Salon.com reports that by 2020 we will no longer have any concept of the demarcation between work and non-work life. The article, here , entitled, “Work stress is the saddest American status symbol” explains the differences between America and other cultures like Italy, where the amount of leisure time indicates the highest status. Busy is not better.
2017 can be the year when you begin to reverse this negative trend in your life. It is called boundaries, and we all need to learn how to make them and keep them. Work is 40 hours a week if you’re lucky in the U.S. In other countries like France or the UK, it is more like 35, especially if you figure in the 30 days of mandatory paid leave a year. We in the U.S. are lucky if we get 10 paid leave days a year with most jobs. How can we fight this cultural divide which leads us into early graves (Carrie Fisher just died on her way back from finishing her Star Wars role and being on a book tour, all leading up to Christmas…tell me she wasn’t stressed when she had her heart attack).
You shouldn’t feel guilty playing Lego with your kid for a few hours if it means you don’t mop the floors. You shouldn’t feel awful spending a couple hours vegging with your hubby watching movies on Netflix just because your boss wants you to have something done earlier than later. That seems like it’s easier to say than do, but ultimately we do have a CHOICE. Choice theory by William Glasser endorses the idea that we give up our control to external sources by choice. We choose to have the house that requires us to work a certain amount to pay the mortgage, and not have any extra time with our families, etc. We don’t see it as a choice because we let society tell us that these are the things that should be most important to us….success, a career, not relationships, stable mental and physical health.
So remember in 2017, you do have a choice. If someone says you have to work 50 hours a week or not have a job, remember…you can get a different job….you can, if working less and having more time to live and enjoy your friends, family, hobbies, nature, are important to you. You don’t have to check your work email outside work hours…unless maybe you are a physician or nuclear plant monitor…you get my drift. We make these things important, we allow our culture to define us….for me…I choose the Italian approach…the more leisure time I can afford, the better. I’ll take two hours on the floor playing Legos over finishing that project over the weekend any time.