“Where did the weekend go?” How often we get to Monday, and it feels like we never had a weekend. Nearly 6 in 10 Europeans put in a full workday at least one weekend a month. But not getting enough downtime can have a profound impact on our well-being, our mental health, and can impact on family and other relationships.
It’s important first to understand why you might be working. If it’s out of necessity, then make sure you find another time to unwind, relax and recharge. But if it’s self-imposed then let’s look at ways to prioritise ‘me time’.
For many of us, the weekend is a time to catch up on all the things we didn’t have time to do during the week: housework, shopping, kid’s sport, seeing friends and family. This sometimes doesn’t leave that much time for personal downtime. And leaves you feeling just as exhausted on Monday morning as you felt on Friday afternoon. The challenge: how to simultaneously wind down from the week, recharge, and reclaim your weekend.
Prepare on Friday
Is your head wrapped up in the work week that lies ahead? There are things you can do, such as preparing for Monday every Friday, that can help you to beat the “Sunday blues”. At the end of each work week, take a few minutes to prepare for the next week by tidying up your workspace, sorting out your email inbox and making a to-do list. Investing the time now will help ease your mind for the next 48 hours.
Take a break
That’s right, give it a rest. Make an intention as you leave work on Friday evening to turn off your work mode. Imagine you’re stepping out of the work version of you and into the weekend version of yourself. Be okay about relaxing. Learn to silence those guilty thoughts with a loving-kindness meditation.
Change it up
Don’t let your weekends become a monotonous routine. Regularly challenge yourself to do something different. Try new activities. Check out what’s on in your town and go to an event. Or go someplace fresh within a few hours of home. We tend to overlook attractions that are within easy reach of our homes, so here’s your opportunity to discover things just distance away.
Go with the flow
Look forward to activities and have plans in place, but be flexible and don’t pack your weekend too full. If you make too many plans, then you might feel pressure and stress to accomplish all of them. On the other hand, not doing anything will make you feel like your weekend was unproductive. The key is to strike a balance that works for you.
Unplug and do a digital detox
Being always connected to smartphones and social media saps you of energy at a time when you’re trying to relax and recharge. Try to detox from your smartphone by ideally setting aside time when where you don’t look at your social media or emails at all. Start with 15 minutes, then build it up to 30, then 60. An hour so of time off feels great and then when you can reconnect try to bring an awareness to it.
The weekend is the time to recharge and take a break. Make time with family or friends, get immersed in something you love doing, get out into nature for a walk or get out of town. No matter what you do, take a break from work, unplug and make it your time.
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