It’s 5.30pm on Friday and everyone’s gearing up for the weekend. Yet instead of enjoying their time off, more and more people these days are spending their evenings and weekends working overtime or worrying about work problems.
With the economy looking shakier by the minute it’s understandable that many of us feel pressure to work extra hours. However this can have a negative effect on our health and wellbeing if we are constantly strung out and exhausted – and it goes without saying that this is going to affect our performance at work.
Write a to-do list
I think a great many of us find it difficult to stop work thoughts creeping into our minds during the evenings and weekends, when instead we should be relaxing and enjoying a rest.
To stop these niggling worries, make sure you spend your last half hour or so on a Friday writing a to-do list for the next week. Really focus your mind on the task and try to be as thorough as possible. This should reduce the amount of worrying you might be likely to do in your days off.
Practise an end of week ritual
At the end of the working week, make sure you do something to signify that the weekend has begun and work has finished until Monday. It could be something as simple as switching off your computer, tidying your desk or making a final cup of tea, but whatever you choose, make sure you do it at the end of every Friday to get your brain into non-work mode.
Get out into nature
Instead of spending your weekends fretting about work or checking your emails, make sure you spend some time outside enjoying nature. Research from the University of Washington has revealed that spending time in nature can help to reduce stress as well as lower blood pressure.
You will also top up your quota of vitamin D by spending some time in the sunshine and if you combine this with some form of exercise – walking, cycling or gardening perhaps – you will notice a lift in your mood.
Sign up to do something new
If you are aware of yourself worrying about work over the weekend, then why not sign up to do a regular activity or join a club of some sort? This will keep you occupied and stop any work worries creeping in.
Separate business and pleasure
If you haven’t done so already, make sure you have a personal email separate to your work address so that you can receive messages from friends and family over the weekend without being side-tracked by work issues.
If you have to provide a mobile number for work, you might want to consider getting a separate phone for personal calls so that you can switch your work phone off during the weekend.
Tell yourself that you’re worth it!
Many of us put in longer hours at work because we are insecure and have a fear of failure. By putting in long hours we somehow convince ourselves that we are a better person for it. But often this leads to further stress, anxiety and exhaustion, eventually ending in burn out.
Make a conscious decision to take time off for your own health and wellbeing, because your body and mind deserve time to rest and recover. Pledge to do at least one thing over the weekend just for you – plan a beauty treatment, cook yourself your favourite meal or just spend an afternoon reading that book you’ve been meaning to read for ages.
Be selfish for once and make the weekend all about you!
About the author: Liz Parry is a writer specialising in holistic health and wellbeing, personal development and spirituality.