When I first dove into the “real world” with a 9-5 job, staying active outside work didn’t seem particularly important. I volunteered to spend more hours at the office because my career was my top priority.
After a while, I started feeling burnt out. I still loved the job I had, but I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I decided to spend a weekend doing some of the things I always enjoyed – tennis, playing the piano, volunteering, watching movies with friends.
This worked wonders, and I realized how staying well balanced did more to boost my performance at work than spending endless hours in the office. If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, here are a few easy ways for you to stay balanced outside of the daily grind.
Volunteer for your community
Joining a local charity group is a great way to give back to your community. If you’re new to the area or looking to expand your network, volunteering can help you meet new people who share your interests. On top of that, you’ll be able to see the positive impact you’re having locally. Many volunteer organizations have regular roles that you can slot into your weekly or even monthly schedule.
For years, I volunteered for the United Way outside of work and managed to meet other young professionals and seasoned experts. They have all provided me with great memories and, occasionally, even career advice.
Join a team
When you’re sitting at a desk all day, it’s important to stay physically active in your free time. Joining a local sports club or league is an easy way to keep fit, meet new people, and maintain a social life. I’ve loved tennis since I was a kid, so when I discovered there was a tennis club near my home, I met with the manager to see if joining suited my situation. She told me the club held social events throughout the year, had special guests, and its own community of tennis fans. Soon after signing up, I found myself connecting with people I didn’t know lived right by me – and we liked the same sport!
Over the years, my tennis skills weren’t the only thing that improved – my social network and overall well-being had reached new heights as well. It’s easy to find local sports clubs and leagues – do a Google search to see what’s in your area, or sign up for classes at a nearby gym.
Professional groups and associations
As a student, professional groups and associations meant networking and rubbing elbows with professionals. Now that I have some experience, I’ve realized that these groups are great for meeting others with similar interests and honing new skills. A friend of mine is part of a group for young professionals interested in sailing. Her Instagram is filled with breathtaking images of the Toronto Harbourfront, and she insists it’s the perfect way to wind down after a long week.
All the sailing classes are scheduled months in advance, so she rarely has trouble fitting them into her calendar. For someone like her who works long hours, it’s become a way to maintain a social life and stay active. Many of her close friends are also members of the group, and their sailing classes are often followed by a fun night at the pub.