Balancing act: Balanced life should include time with 'the guys'

Published: Tuesday, April 1 2014 6:00 a.m. MDT

It may sound strange, but I get a similar positive vibe from singing in my church choir. While both men and women participate in the choir, there is a clear camaraderie among the men in the group, as we struggle through sections of songs and joke about our inability to hit some of the notes. When we pull everything together and perform during a Sunday meeting, I get that great feeling of accomplishing something cool with a group of friends.

I've noticed the same thing with my wife. She often makes time to get away with friends or female family members, and I know she appreciates those opportunities. For example, she recently attended an event with her mother, her sister, her sister's three oldest daughters and our three daughters. I can only imagine the non-stop chatter and laughter that was part of that night out, and I know the four women of the Kratz household were all in a great mood when they returned home.

The Kratz men were in a pretty good mood, too, as my 8-year-old son and I used their absence to go to the auto parts store, make a McDonald's run and watch a couple of episodes of the new "Cosmos" series on TV. It was a different kind of male bonding, but it was definitely a great evening.

So what's the lesson in all of this? Yes, we're all busy with work, and the 24/7 nature of our connection to our jobs makes it hard to get away. And yes, our families should be our top priorities and the main focus of our efforts to build better work-life balance.

But we shouldn't discount the benefits of the occasional night out with the guys or gals when it comes to keeping us on an even keel. We all benefit from the feeling of brotherhood or sisterhood that comes from such activities.

What do you think? Do you have some regular activities you do with groups of friends? How have they helped or harmed your efforts to build a balanced life?

Send me an email or leave a comment with your ideas, and I'll use some of your responses if I revisit this issue in a future column.

Email your comments to kratzbalancingact@gmail.com or post them online at deseretnews.com. Follow me on Twitter at gkratzbalancing or on Facebook on my journalist page.

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