By Marc Poirier, General Manager of Abbey Placements LLC
You arrive at work on a Monday and wonder, “Where did my weekend go?” It happened again. You were so busy over the weekend that you forgot to do the very thing you needed most: rest. Blame it on your chore list, your volunteer activities, your night out, your church involvement, your kids’ sports, or the work you brought home with you. Blame isn’t going to help. You are going to work tired and you’re going to be less productive today than if you had rested.
Why do we make weekends so exhausting?
Labor leaders during the industrial revolution designed the modern weekend because they researched and learned how rest affected worker productivity. Unions of the early 1800s made inroads with bosses by demonstrating repeatedly that decreasing the length of the workweek would increase the total output of production. Bosses had no reason to make their employees work long hours if they could send them home and still make more money. Giving the workers rest made the difference.
You may not be required to work 14 hours a day as your ancestors did, but you may still be putting in those kinds of hours and working yourself into an early grave with your domestic projects and social life. Don’t discount the way your work at home affects you.
If you want a demonstration of how working at home can wear on someone, tell any stay-at-home mom that she is not really working and then duck out of the way. That object flying past your head symbolizes how much real work she does every day and should demonstrate that your work at home is real work too. She probably needs to relax more and so do you.
There are many ways you should be relaxing more. Carve our time in your busy schedule for these types of activities:
It may seem obvious, but sleep is an excellent way to rest more. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep improves memory and heart function, decreases likelihood of obesity and depression, and helps balance your blood sugar and hormones. If you can’t get enough sleep on the weekend, when will you ever get enough sleep?
Eating a Good Meal
Hypertension is linked to poor eating habits according to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. If your weekend diet is mostly chips and pizza, you will be stressed, not rested. With your extra time on the weekend, prepare a dish you love that is also reasonably healthy. Grill a steak, make pad thai, mix up a batch of guacamole, or stew some local tomatoes for a good spaghetti sauce. Pick something you can handle and give your body what it craves: good food.
Taking a Walk Outside
You’ll benefit from exercise, sunshine, fresh air, and viewing beautiful natural scenery. Exercise may seem like the opposite of resting, but keeping your body active allows it to function better, which in turn improves the quality of your rest. And according to a 2013 article by the New York Times, exercising outside will have additional benefits to exercising inside on a treadmill. Volunteers in a study cited by the article “scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside” as compared to peers who walked the same distance indoors.
Hugging Someone You Love
When you embrace someone, a chemical called oxytocin (also known as “the cuddle hormone”) is released, making us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Hug your significant other, hug your kids, hug your parents, hug your friends, hug your dog or cat. Appreciate those in your life who you love and show them you care by visiting them on the weekend and giving them a hug.
Plan time to rest and protect that time as if it were important. It is important! You’ll be happier, healthier, and more productive during the week when you get back to work.