1 October 2022

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Living loving learning

Find that work-life balance and take the time to play

9 min read

As adults, we tend to work ourselves to the bone and we forget about this “new-fangled” thing called work-life balance. Okay, it isn’t really new, but it is something that is often overlooked, especially when we are working towards a financial goal. It could be something like a new car, your child’s tuition, an expensive phone, or even simply future financial security.

I, myself, work several jobs. I teach, which means I prepare lesson plans, deliver the lectures, interact with my students, then check and grade their submissions. I write on the side and right now it is a bunch of AV scripts. I do social media management so I’m preparing a social media plan. I edit for some authors, which for me, does not feel like work. And if any other opportunity comes around, I snap those up, too.

So, like you, I don’t get much time to relax – it is work, work, work. What you and I need are opportunities to destress!

If I could get away I would go to …

… the beach! If time and money are things to consider, the simplest getaway I could think of is a visit to the beach.

Nirvana! I don’t even need company. I just need the peace and quiet of laying on the soft sand with the sound of the waves in my ears and the gentle sea breeze flowing over my skin.

But if money was no object and time was not a factor either, I would love to travel again.  It has been so many years since I’ve flown anywhere. The last country I visited was Hong Kong which I have been to many times. So far I’ve only been to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and, of course, different parts of the Philippines. I would love to go somewhere different and new starting with those that countries that don’t require a visa for short-term visits.

Escape for a few hours

You don’t need to go far or spend a lot of time traveling to destress. There are things you can do nearby or even in the comfort of your home that will do as well.

Grab a drink with friends

Whether it is at a coffee shop, a juice bar, a restaurant, or a bar … it’s not about what you eat or drink, it is about who you spend it with!

Meeting up with friends means we get to talk about stuff that has nothing to do with work. We could catch up on each others’ lives, gossip about other people, talk about something we watched or read … really the topics for discussion are endless! Just try not to talk about work as that would defeat the purpose.

My favorite place to meet up with friends is Starbucks, specifically the Starbucks Reserve near my house. I love how they greet me by name and with a smile and wave from the moment I step into the store. They make me feel so welcome! I love how they know me so well that I just give them my tumbler and they know what to put in it without me saying anything.

Another place I like to go to is High Grounds Cafe, also near my house. I think of it as a one-stop shop. They have coffee, tea, food, and beers so, whatever my friends feel like, this place most likely has it.

Exercise

exercise

When we think of relaxing exercise most people immediately imagine yoga or pilates. But the truth is, any type of exercise can serve to relax and destress. Exercising releases endorphins – the happy hormone – which help in releasing the tension that may have accumulated while we are working.  My go-to workouts are dance exercises, running, and lifting weights at the gym.

You can even exercise at home if you have the discipline for it. I have an exercise bike at home that I try to use once a day for 30 minutes … the operative word is TRY.

Veg in front of the TV

Grab some snacks and the TV remote and put on that movie or TV series you’ve wanted to watch for some time … or watch something new! You can even watch a game if you are into sports. Watch on your own or watch with family or friends. Escaping into a fictional world or watching other people excel in sports takes your mind away from your work.

The last series I watched on Netflix was Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. How about you? What was the last thing you watched?

Read a book

read a bookReading is not something a lot of people enjoy but for bookworms, like myself, this is an easy way to escape! Whether it is an e-book or a physical book, I enjoy getting lost in the stories and characters that jump at me from the page.

If I had to choose between e-books and physical books, it would be difficult. I love how convenient reading an e-book is as I only need to have whatever device I have handy, such as my smartphone or iPad/tablet. And yet, there is something to be said about the smell and feel of holding a book in your hands.

Right now I am reading so many books at the same time! I’m in the middle of a story in iBooks, a couple (or more books on Kindle, and so many more on Goodnovel.

If reading is not your thing, that’s okay. There are other things you can do such as …

Play games

Games abound for game consoles, mobile phones, and tablets. While there are also games available for desktop or laptop computers, many adults (especially the much older ones) cannot be bothered to install a game, unless someone installs it for them. I have a few games installed on my phone. My go-to games to relax are word puzzles, matching games, and shooting games. I don’t like games with timers (especially those with a very short timer) because they tend to stress me out instead of relaxing me.

Recently I did a Google search looking for some classic games I could play online and I came across this website called Plays.org.

plays.org

Two things attracted me … FREE and ONLINE. So I scrolled through and played a few of the games.

Awe Shoot! shooting games

Cannons and Soldiers

I tried a couple of shooting games.  The first one was Cannons and Soldiers Mountain Offense. As with most shooting games, it has to do with physics.  To play you need to choose the correct trajectory and strength to release the cannonball from the cannon and hit the soldier. In this game, there is no need to actually hit the soldier as he can just fall or get hit by debris.

The trajectory of the cannon is easy enough to figure out as it just follows whatever direction the mouse is in.  The strength of release, however, can only be controlled by mousing over the cannon first. It would have been helpful if that was written in the help link/button.

The help button at the start is no help at all. It just says Forestry Games and plays.org so to play it I kind of had to figure it out for myself.

The Sorcerer
The Sorcerer

The second game I tried was called The Sorcerer. This one did not take much figuring out as it is tailored after the classic game Zuma.

In this game, the goal is to form at least 3 balls of the same color in a row to eliminate them and ultimately remove all the balls before they reach the end. I haven’t reached the higher levels yet so I don’t know if this version of this shooting game has the option to switch balls with the spare like Zuma did but so far, it plays in pretty much the same way.

The Sorcerer is a relaxing game until the balls snake closer to the exit … then the pressure really piles on, especially at the higher levels.

Education

Zombie Typing

I mentioned earlier that I am drawn to word puzzles so I looked some up like crosswords, word twist, etc. and the one that caught my interest is Zombie Typing. This is probably not the most relaxing game but I think I enjoyed it the most. If you aren’t a fast typer this game will turn you into one or the zombies are gonna get ya!

On the lower levels, the words are easy with some words just being 3 or 4 letters long. Later the words get longer and longer. If you misspell a word, there is no backspace. What you typed will disappear and you have to start over.

Solitaire and Pinball

Speaking of classic games, we can’t get more classic than Solitaire and Pinball. Of all the solitaire variants available I chose Luxor Tripeaks.

Just as with the original version of the game, the goal is to bring down cards from the pattern above whose value is one step higher or lower than the exposed card. If there is no available card then we open a card from the stack until a card appears that will allow cards from above to be brought down. In the end, what we want to do is to bring down all the cards.

Space Adventure Pinball
Space Adventure Pinball

For pinball, I chose Space Adventure Pinball. Except for the space theme, this pinball game executes just like a regular pinball. The controls are fairly easy as well as it uses the arrow keys on the keyboard. However, I must confess … this game would be more fun if I could use both hands for the paddles. It is probably just me, but controlling the paddles with just the fingers of my right hand is not as fun as having my left-hand control the left paddle and my right hand control the right.


Beyond playing the games I also took the time to read all the other information on the site and I made some exciting discoveries!

If you want to just play, with no commitments, you can! Just pick a game from their wide selection and start playing. But if you want to save and track your progress then you need to register on their website.

These games could be played on a touchscreen. This means that so long as the device has a browser the games could still be played. Hooray for pinball! Woohoo!

New games are added often and will appear at https://plays.org/games first.

No ads or ads targeting. I was so glad to see this! Do you have any idea how rare that is?  I hate how my game gets interrupted by ads. Well, here is a site with TONS of games and no ads.  According to their site:

We use Clicky web analytics to track our website performance to see where our site is discussed around the web and how popular various games are so we can create and publish more games similar to the most popular games. We do not serve ads on our site nor retarget users across the web.

The one feature I would probably hope they would add as I didn’t see it is a search feature, just so finding specific games would be faster.

I am not exaggerating much when I say “tons of games”. Look at the number of categories alone!


I feel that I need to explore Plays.org more as I’ve barely scratched the surface. With thousands of games available, I could choose one game a day and will still be visiting the site for years to come. I’m really looking forward to playing some of the cartoon games next like The Powerpuff Girls, the Superhero games, and Looney Toons. I can’t wait to try them all!

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