MeetupsBy now, the saying “All work and no play makes you dull” is as cliché as any, but if you’re always on the go and never stop to smell the (also) cliché roses, you could be running yourself ragged. It’s important to take time to recharge, as big an investment in yourself as putting all that time in at the office. No matter what your interests, financial situation, or social preferences are, you’ll find something that has you looking forward to 5pm.

Meet Up Meetings



Your calendar may already be filled with business meetings, but Meetups (hit up www.meetup.com) are a whole other situation. Chances are in your town or one nearby, there are other Black professionals gathering together. At the start of 2012, for example, New York City offered Meetups like the Black Male Empowerment Society of America and the New York Black Professional Singles. Over in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. offered Meetups such as The Original Washington DC Metropolitan Black Professionals and The Northern Virginia Black Professionals Meetup Group. Near Philly? Hit up groups like the Philadelphia Black Professionals & Entrepreneurs Network, Black Arts & Theater Seekers of Philly, and Young Black Women in (or around) Princeton. Joining Meetup is free and you get to choose whether to sample a few groups or get active in a few that really ring your bell.

Love Your Letters



Remember the days of stepping and socials? Back when you were in college, you may have found ways to unwind with your brothers and sisters of a fraternity or sorority. Now in the “real world,” there’s less time for that – but there doesn’t have to be. On your time off, check back with your chapter or national to see what’s going on at the alumni level. Chances are, quite a lot. For example, Zeta Phi Beta offers ongoing membership with graduate chapters performing community service, youth outreach, and voter registration drives. Never went Greek? Look into other options such as clubs and honor societies you were involved with during your bachelor-level days.

Theme Tripping



Theme parties may have seemed corny when you were little and played out when you were older, but they’re back big time and are a cheap and fun way to de-stress. Whether you’ve got disco fever, prefer Blackula over the wimpy “Twilight” vampires, or are getting into an upcoming holiday, invite friends (and coworkers whose company you actually enjoy) over to blow off steam. Get really into the idea by coordinating your outfits (give guests some suggestions on their invitations) along with food and decorations, and be sure to load up a just-right playlist as well. This doesn’t have to break your budget or carve out too much of your planning time. Some themes, like the Super bowl, lend themselves to quick fixes. Take a tour through your local party store and gather decorations in the colors of your favorite team, purchase snacks in bulk, sit back, and let all the crowds cheering cheer you up and get you revved up for the workweek ahead.