5 Mountain Town Secrets to Work/Life Balance
It’s true: finding work/life balance might be a little easier here in the mountains of Maine than almost anywhere else. We know we’re lucky, but our laid back mountain lifestyle isn’t always as effortless as it looks. Sure, we have unlimited access to some of the best hiking, mountain biking, and paddling on the East Coast. And yes, our winters are basically a montage of powder shots, micro brews, and high-fives. But living in a four season mountain town paradise isn’t all sunrise peak bagging and Instagramable après awesomeness. Most of us have legit careers that demand at least a 40 hour work week, so we’ve had to become experts at balancing budgets and meeting deadlines while still fitting in some serious play time. Because when the view from your office is a mountain range, it’s impossible to ignore your weekend adventure plans.
No matter where you live, finding that balance between down time and go time is about as good as it gets. Here are a few ways (5 to be exact), to fully embrace the concept of ‘mountain town chill’ and still crush it at the office.
1. Stay flexible.
While finding balance is an overall goal, it’s not one that you should necessarily strive for every single day. Because here’s the thing: a 9-5 workday made a lot of sense for factory workers. But a lot’s changed in the ways we live and work; in many industries, the end result of a project is more important than how many hours it took to accomplish. So it’s time to embrace a more flexible approach. It’s okay to work through the weekend as needed, but that also means that a Tuesday morning bike ride is totally justified. So dive in completely when it makes sense, and know that you’ll enjoy your next long weekend (or lunch break trail run) guilt-free.
2. Don’t separate, integrate.
For a long time, finding work/life balance meant keeping two very important pieces of your life separated, lest they interfere. But reality doesn’t exactly work like that. It can be more trouble than it’s worth trying to keep all work related ideas and challenges in the office, and everything else relegated to weekends and vacation time. So let’s stop trying to do the impossible. Instead of pushing all work-related concerns aside on the weekends, be ready for inspiration to strike anytime, and take a few minutes to jot down ideas as they come. And it’s just as important to share a little bit of your personal life at work. If you and a coworker are both battling through the terrible twos or caring for elderly parents, take the time to talk about it. While it might not directly impact the bottom line, you’ll create an atmosphere of support and trust that’s just as valuable.
3. Plan ahead:
Okay, so this one might not fit the spontaneous mountain town cliché, but it’s really important. Even with a fully integrated work/life situation, you still need to take time off. Depending on your budget and ambition, this could mean a week being a tourist in your own town, or embarking on a hut to hut backcountry expedition (we can help you with the latter). It matters less what you do and more that you do it. You’ll come back refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready for anything.
4. Get outside.
It’s easy to come home from a long day and scroll through Netflix for a binge-worthy new release. But that’s no way to live. Getting a little more fresh air and less screen time will help you make the most of your down time, and spending time in nature is the ultimate way to recharge and connect with friends and family. So while it might seem more relaxing in the moment to crash in front of the TV, it can ultimately make you feel less relaxed.
To really make a flexible, balanced schedule work, it’s crucial to communicate your plans to everyone involved. Your coworkers should be kept up to date on all your projects, especially if you’re working remotely or keeping odd hours. And the same goes for your family: when you anticipate a heavy workload, let them know what to expect from your schedule. By setting clear expectations up front, you’ll make it easier for everyone to be flexible.
Here at Maine Huts & Trails, we do everything we can to get the job done, and know sometimes that means taking time to unwind and reflect. We’ve learned that inspiration is more likely to be found deep in the woods than in a conference room, and that fresh air is a key ingredient to fresh ideas. Finding work/life balance takes a lot of practice, and while it’s not always easy, it’s always worth it.
Ready to get away for a few days? Check out these trips, guaranteed to refresh and inspire: