Everyone tends to get caught up in the rat race from time to time. Between working a full-time job that extends above and beyond your traditional 9-5, contributing to this website, and volunteering at my university, I’m in the same boat! As things have gotten busier and busier the past few months, I’ve been thinking increasingly of ways to wind down. From time to time, we all should be taking time to unplug from the daily grind.
We have been focusing hard on career advancement in recent articles. All that grinding comes with some unwanted side effects. Below are several tips I have found useful to get rid of that stress, while still keeping goals in focus. That happy medium between achievement and balance is one that always shines through in the Home At 30 articles I have written.
Next time you find yourself banging your head against the desk, take a look at any of the below strategies.
Strategies to Unplug from the Grind
Turning (ALL) Electronics Off
One of my personal favorites, getting away from everything that requires electricity can have incredible benefits for your well being. A few times a week I’ll make sure to switch off everything and turn to exercise or a book, running errands, etc. The key is leaving your phone on airplane mode, or turning it off altogether. Get rid of the constant stigma that leads us to check our phones 80 times a day, on average.
Whether it’s an incoming work email, a sports update, a game notification, whatever – it’s hard to overstate the therapeutic effect of getting away from everything electronic. Get into the flow of the present moment and hit the reset button. You’ll feel much better after even a few hours.
For a longer-term solution to these constant electronic distractions that increase the stress of the grind: Harvard Business Review suggests moving to 15 or 30-minute phone check intervals, rather than reacting to every beep like a Pavlovian dog. Tough to do as a sales guy but I follow this method as often as I can in my day-to-day!
Contrary to the previous post of all electronics off, sometimes it’s good to boot up the podcasts on your phone. I’m a big fan of a few podcasts out there which preach self-development and hard work. I know Josh tweeted about this very subject this week, so I wanted to share a couple of top-shelf shows I love tuning into.
These shows are an awesome way to “reframe” your thoughts and actions, and help you remember why you are committed to the grind in the first place. They can provide much-needed motivation when time’s get difficult, so I’ll always have a listen if I need that extra boost.
The AMP – Aubrey Marcus
Aubrey Marcus founded the human optimization company Onnit a few years back, and his story is one I relate to well. A late bloomer who always knew a life of entrepreneurship and creation was for him, but didn’t find that niche until age 29-30 and is now killing it. Always a motivation to hear him talk about the early days of Onnit, and even before Onnit. Aubrey is also huge into some far-out topics like mindfulness, expanding consciousness and more.
School of Greatness – Lewis Howes
SoG is another excellent listen for anyone in need of motivation to hustle as an entrepreneur while staying true to your core values and roots. Everything from running a business to best practices for mind/body health is covered. Lewis also brings in other success stories from across industries to discuss how they got started and what motivates you. If you can align your thought patterns to those of a bunch of self-made millionaires, you’re probably on the right track!
The MFCEO Project – Andy Frisella
MFCEO is all about hard work and starting from the ground up to build a business empire. Andy Frisella started his supplement company a while back now, and has plenty of lessons based on “there are no overnight successes”. I guarantee if you feel bogged down in the grind of a side hustle or something full-time, listening to him talk about the early days will change your mindset quick.
Exercise, Meditation, Yoga (Just Get Active)
The single best stress reliever for me has always been a hard gym session. A tough day at work; A weekend of over-indulgence; Whatever is increasing your personal grind, the physiological benefits of getting active can’t be denied!
As for the best way to get active, it’s entirely up to personal preference. I enjoy weightlifting, occasional cardio work, and sports like basketball (a workout of its own). I’ve never been a yoga guy but if that’s your thing, find a way to get into a routine.
Meditation, coupled with exercise, can further augment the benefits of each. I think the most relaxed I’ve ever been were the days I’d start the morning with a run, followed up by 20-30 minutes of meditation. I’d plug into Youtube, listen away, and feel pretty incredible the rest of the day.
Adding some natural feel-good solutions into your daily routine are going to make the tough days that much more bearable. If you aren’t getting active today, make a real effort to get going ASAP.
Have a Designed “Lazy Day”
One of the best ways to hit the reset button is by doing so in a designed and intentional way. In dieting and fitness, “cheat days” exist to reward hard work and alleviate the psychological effects of the grind. For our purposes, a “lazy day” can have the same impact.
A day where you sit back and do absolutely nothing. Does it sound like base treachery against your hardworking, goal-oriented attitude? As much as it may, I’d advise considering it if the daily grind starts becoming too much.
I’d be lying if I told you there weren’t Saturday’s where I’ve spent almost every waking moment in front of the computer and Xbox. While not productive in its own right, take into consideration what you’ve done that week leading up to a lazy Saturday. Oftentimes, I’ll be on the road Monday-Friday, working from 5:30 am until I head to bed at night, moving large software deals towards closure by any means possible. Seem like a grind to you?
As much as I’d love to complement 70 hours of weekday work with a weekend full of side hustle grinding, sometimes it can just be too much to bear. This is where a day of taking a step back and doing what you enjoy goes a LONG way. Stop thinking about career advancement and personal development for a second. Live in the moment for a day and you’ll be in better shape to start moving again soon.
This topic deserves it’s own article so I won’t spend as much time diving into detail here. Few things in life get you the basic human-to-human satisfaction like donating your time to help those in need. Figure out a way to get involved with your community. Most companies will have programs of their own, but if not, your university, high school, church, etc. will have options to explore.
Personally, this was something I struggled with since doing a lot of volunteer work in high school. Other priorities got in the way, either college or career-related. As of January, I’ve begun work with my alma mater Northeastern, giving back my time to help local startup companies take their product to market. I was able to find a volunteer experience that combines a passion of mine with volunteering. Figure out something you love to do as well and look for an opportunity in your wheelhouse.
Donating your time for those less fortunate will put your personal “grind” in an entirely different light. I look forward to writing about some of my experiences with my university this year on this topic.
I hope some of the above tips served as more refresher than net-new suggestions. Taking the time to focus on your goals and ambitions is awesome, but always keep in mind the balance. Grind too hard and burn out, or slack around and never advance towards your goals? Or, find that happy medium between the daily effort you put in and how you unwind. Focus on healthy and wholesome activities to make a life already well-lived even better, and put yourselves that much closer to your goals. Until next time folks.
All opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of Home at 30 and are in no way affiliated with any other organization or institution. The purpose of this blog is to give general education and information about investing, wealth, careers, and college; It is not intended to be professional advice.
Author: Joe Savoia
Joe is a 2014 graduate of Northeastern University and currently works in a field sales role for technology company Acquia. He has worked internationally as one of Acquia’s earliest Australia-based employees and helped in the early stages to develop that region. Today Joe is based out of Boston and lives in Somerville, MA. Joe’s primary interests vary widely, including everything from robotics/AI to finance, blockchain, and the rapidly evolving world of tech we live in.