A few years ago I was on a group holiday, sailing around The Cyclades. One of our group was worried constantly about her phone battery running flat in case she missed an important email. This was even though she was on annual leave, and even with her ‘out of office’ responder on, and other people in the office who could cover.
This is the world so many of us live in now. We feel so much responsibility for our jobs that the term ‘full-time’ has become rather too literal.
While we can blame the society for some of this, there is also a degree of responsibility at our own door too. We allow the boundaries to get blurred. But you know what? We can stop it too. It just takes a little perspective shift.
Realize your problem
For many people, this comes in the form of a little existential awakening. For me, it was a sudden bout of depression. For other people I know they have developed different health problems, or even completely burned themselves out. Never allowing yourself a day off will do that.
The good news is that you do not have to wait to start feeling unwell before you take action and set yourself some boundaries. I hope that reading this will remind you to carve some ‘you time’ into your schedule, and just enjoy your free time a little.
Have you smelt the flowers lately?
Whether you spend your downtime sailing around The Cyclades or standing ankle-deep in mud on the side of a rugby pitch, your free time is your own.
When you look around you, there is always something to appreciate. Sunshine, birds singing, or in the case of the rugby pitch, that hot cup of coffee that is keeping you alive.
But whatever that thing is for you, there is something life affirming about enjoying the little things. And even more so when you can do this without intrusive thoughts of work. Honestly, that stuff can wait until Monday.
Let your brain reboot
If you need a bigger reason to rest, then how about letting your brain reboot?Studies show that we learn better when we are well rested. Our brain encodes new information while we sleep, but if we are too busy and over-tired, we retain very little new information.
When the weekend comes, put your phone on silent and just chill out. Scientists say that it is good for you.
A break boosts your mood
When we do not let ourselves stop working, eventually we get cranky. It happens to the best of us.
When Monday morning comes around, you want to start the new week feeling positive and ready to go. If you have been dipping in and out of work emails all weekend, you will not have had a proper break, so you will not feel rested and ready to go.
You know that expression, “It is for the greater good.”
Well, I think that really applies here. No matter how much you have on your plate at work. And no matter how many things will be in your inbox on Monday. Come at it when you are rested, and you will handle it better.
You might feel like you can’t afford any time off. But if you get over-tired, then your work productivity will slow down. So overall, taking the weekends off is for the greater good.
Whenever your next day off comes, remember to enjoy it!