The age-old division of ‘work and ‘play’ is the separation of labour and leisure. People consider their downtime to be sacred and also as an equal counterweight to the time they dedicate to working. This delicate balance, if left neglected, can impact your performance at work so it really is in everyone’s best interests that you make the most out of your time outside of work.
So, swimming; that’s the case you’re going to hear over the next few paragraphs. It is from personal experience that I can tell you that you can reach the zenith of your Zen by a good few lengths in your local pool.
Firstly, its physical exercise and whilst that might not immediately seem important, it is. The majority of jobs in the city involve hours sat around staring at a computer screen. All the mental gymnastics you do from the comfort of an office are all well and good for your mind, but, in order to achieve the aforementioned healthy balance, maintenance of the body is of paramount importance. Tension manifests physically and the all-body workout that swimming is, is the exact remedy that’s needed to prepare your mind and body for another day at the office.
The fact is, swimming is a solitary activity and when you swim, the only thing stimulating your five senses is the water. The second you submerge yourself in the pool, everything else stops, time itself dissipates. It’s the easiest way to create your own world and keep everything separate. There’s you, the pool, and then there is everything else.
With London life, surrounded by the gentrified, silver sprawl of humungous hotels and office buildings, there can be a sense of entrapment; such is the cost of working in a global city. Work can sometimes seem like the only place you know and changing this perception actually helps you perform optimally for your employer. The water reminds you that your life has many facets and its naturally refreshing quality should clear your mind, the metaphor obvious.
A lengthy workout in the swimming pool also helps you maintain a competitive edge that is vital in the working environment. Working to complete targets and exceeding your personal best is ordinarily a characteristic necessary in a working environment. This can also be applied to your swim. There is less pressure as the only person you are competing with is yourself. Swimming can work as a gentle reminder to continue to push yourself, even in your downtime. This, however, should not come at the cost of your need to relax, and it is unlikely to, due to the sports’ calming influence and solitary nature.
Swimming is preferable to other sports in this regard due to their natural intensity. Running, for example is usually done to the point of exhaustion. This will leave you physically and emotionally spent after already completing a day’s work. It is for this reason that I reckon that if you want to relax after work without losing your natural work ethic, whilst simultaneously keeping your body in good shape, swimming is perfect sport to encompass all of those needs
Who knows, maybe your swimming skills could lead to a career in and around the water. Essential for a lifeguard, handy in hospitality, pertinent on a private yacht… whatever you choose, it’s a life skill handy to have.