Are you finding fulfillment outside of work?

In a perfect world, we would all have jobs we love. However, life just isn’t that simple. When we’re not being engaged or inspired at work — and 70 percent of workers fell into this category a few years ago, according to a Gallup poll — we need to find fulfillment elsewhere. Here’s where you can start looking for it.

Be Creative

You don’t have to be an artist to find enjoyment expressing your creative side. And yes, everyone has a creative side, whether its carpentry or cooking. There are countless ways you can express yourself. Consider dabbling in a beginner’s art class at your local community college, just to get the feel for painting or poetry or pottery. Check out local makers or skills-sharing communities for free classes or group events. Take some time to explore different kinds of creativity, and don’t expect perfection right off the bat. Just focus on having fun.

Make a Difference

At the outset, volunteering is a great way to stretch yourself — do something you’ve never done before, learn a new skill, or explore your interests. It can also have a huge impact on your mood. Helping people or the planet are worthwhile contributions you’ll be proud of. It increases self-confidence, combats depression and can help you stay physically healthy.

Volunteering can also be an escape from routine and everyday responsibilities, refocus your priorities, and renew your creativity and motivation. Check out volunteermatch.org, keep an eye on the Craigslist’s “Volunteers” page, and reach out to local organizations you might be interested in working with.

Get Moving

Aside from the health benefits of exercise we all know and love, being active also increases energy levels, elevates your mood, promotes better sleep and increases confidence and self-esteem. Even beyond that, being active is goal-oriented and rewards us with a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. The good news is you don’t have to get on a treadmill. Take a dance class, go ice skating, join an intramural sport or get in a pool. Challenge yourself with a 5K race or even a triathlon, and, above all, have fun!

Maintain Relationships

Relationships are critical to experiencing fulfillment — for introverts and extroverts alike. Whether it’s your family, friends, significant other or a pet (yes — relationships with animals count), loving others and being loved reaps big dividends. Like it or not, we’re social creatures, and we need people. In fact, studies reveal meaningful relationships reduce stress and boost general health and longevity. Make sure you’re focusing on healthy relationships, however; poor ones actually harm your mental and physical health. Check out resources like reddit.com or meetup.com to connect with a community you enjoy.

Feeling fulfilled means something different to everyone, whether it’s completing quality work or knocking out that bucket list. Regardless of what fulfillment means to you, the challenge is to end each day without regret and be satisfied with a life well-lived. That requires living deliberately and, yep, carving out some time after hours to pursue it.

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