Work, Rest and Play

A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play.

Those of us of a certain age (and who grew up in the UK) will doubtless remember this advertising slogan:

A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play.

Sadly the slogan is no more, presumably consigned to history by more rigorous advertising standards.

But – it seems to me – ‘work, rest and play’ is a pretty good summary for the whole of life.

Everything we do is either work or rest or play – and a balanced life will allow a good amount of time for all three.

So, it’s instructive to consider just how much time we do give to work and rest and play.

Because I suspect that most of us are living unbalanced lives, overly dominated by work, with rest and play squeezed into the margins.

And when I say ‘work’ I don’t mean only paid (or, indeed, unpaid) employment – the increasingly  inappropriately named ‘nine-to-five’.

By ‘work’ I mean anything that we are obliged to do – or feel obliged to do – or which has some ‘goal’ or ‘purpose’ beyond the satisfaction and pleasure of the activity itself.

Put another way, ‘rest’ is when we are ‘busy doing nothing’ (to quote Bing Crosby), ‘play’ is when we a busy doing something to no purpose (see What is Play?) and ‘work’ is everything else.

Of course, few activities will be pure work or rest or play, but thinking in these terms can help us to recognise just how unbalanced our lives have become.

Please understand, I am not saying that work is a bad thing. There are many things that rightly need to be done. Work can be satisfying, enjoyable and fulfilling  But, in the long run, too much work is not good for us.

So why not take some time the look back on the past day, the past week, the past month, the past year? Just how much of your time is spent striving to fulfil some obligation or another?

Work is necessary, but who of us could honestly say that we don't need more rest and more play? Click To Tweet

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As I understand it, what we in the UK call a Mars bar is similar to what in the US is called a Milky Way – which is not what we in the UK call a Milky Way!

Here’s a full Mars Bar advert from the 1980s: