It’s a busy season at work for me right now. You wouldn’t think that the new Affordable Care Act would affect an IT Manager so much (unless you’re working for Healthcare.gov), but my company has several initiatives that we’re working on in order to serve our customers well during this transition, and most of them involve technology in some capacity.
And I don’t know about you, but when I’m busy at work I start to think some of the following thoughts:
Boy I’m tired. I need an impromptu vacation.
I haven’t been able to eat dinner with my family much this week, maybe I’ll take them to a nice restaurant to make it up to them.
I’m working extra hours, I don’t need to pack a breakfast or lunch. I’ll just pick something up later.
Budget smudget. I’m buying myself a thank-you-present for working so hard!
Can you relate to any of those sentiments? Do you make poor spending choices because you’re throwing a pity party for yourself… at your own expense?
I can tell you that for me, the busy season doesn’t induce weariness as much as it does stress, and I often try to compensate for that stress by spending money (whether I realize it or not). And from the people I talk to, I don’t think I’m an isolated case.
Alternatives To Pity Party Spending
There are many weekends where I think “I just need to reconnect with my family over the next couple of days, and get some rest”. And while my initial thoughts usually turn to entertainment and events, I am usually able to turn those thoughts to some alternatives that work just as well, but don’t cost an arm and a leg.
- Exercise – Have you ever gone running, lifted weights, or played a sport and thought “man, that was a waste of time” afterwards? Me neither! Finding a way to get in some exercise is not only a great way to recharge and keep in shape, it’s often very inexpensive, and you’ll appreciate the fact that you did it when things get busy again.
- Having Company Over For Dinner And Games – For us this is a great way to spend an evening laughing and talking without breaking the bank. It allows us to reconnect with friends or family, helps us to get out house in order, and offers time to relax and get some perspective on life through shared conversation.
- Hitting Up Your Library / Reading – Better for you than sitting in front of the TV and a fun way to get ideas for things you want to learn about, the library is a relaxing place to go browse and hang out. Or, if you already have some books that you’ve been wanting to read, schedule some time to do that. Maybe even make some coffee at home and turn your phone off while you’re at it!
- Getting Outside – Near where I live there are quite a few beautiful parks. Some are better for walking in nature, some are better for riding bikes, and some are only good for the playgrounds, but my family loves to pack up a picnic lunch (or late afternoon dinner) and head to the park for a couple hours of fun and “disconnecting”. And as a side note: when I’m tired, going and playing outside doesn’t sound like the most relaxing thing in the world. But for some reason once I get out there I can feel my energy level going up. It’s wonderful (and very relaxing).
Work Takes A Toll
Work is hard. If it weren’t, would it provide any satisfaction or sense of accomplishment? We can expect to be tired on the weekends if we’re working a job (especially if we’re working towards financial independence). But spending tons of money “making up” for lost time or trying to make ourselves feel better doesn’t really make sense… it only feeds the vicious cycle!
Keeping more of your hard-earned money will be much more satisfying long term, I’m absolutely sure of that.
What are some inexpensive, relaxing things you do in order to recharge from work?