If you have taken time off this summer, I hope you have had a good break, and been able to reconnect with some really important things – play, family, social connections, the beauty of the outdoors, your ‘hobbies’. Leisure, and rest. Maybe you remembered how much you enjoy these things – and how much better you feel when you make time for them. We all need ‘days off’.
So now you’re back at work, how are your weekends? Saturdays and Sundays can fill up with household chores, caring for relatives, managing children’s activities, or the overflow of work commitments. They don’t always feel like days off.
Journalist Katrina Onstad sets out a powerful case for paying new attention to our weekends, and how we use them, in a recently published book entitled ‘The Weekend Effect: The Life-Changing Benefits of Taking Two Days Off’ (Piatkus).
While appreciating the need to cope with ongoing commitments and responsibilities, Onstad urges us to ask ourselves ‘What gives my weekend value?’, and ‘What prevents those things from happening?’
Onstad’s own solution to the problem has been to think very consciously about how she organises her weekend time. She drew up a ‘weekend manifesto’ for herself, as her touchstone for what really mattered.
What would go into your own ‘weekend manifesto’?
- Time away from social media, and the internet?
- Time set aside for friends, and for play?
- Being more active?
- Taking a regular walk to a local beauty spot?
Onstad found herself prioritising a family ‘Sunday dinner’ when phones were put away. She looked up old friends. She consciously allowed herself to use phrases like ‘I’ll see you guys later’, and ‘who wants to play cards?’, as she balanced her own needs with treasured family time.
Maybe you are neglecting a ‘hobby’ – according to Onstad, ‘a recent study found that those who practised creative hobbies in their free time were better equipped to recover from the demands of work after hours, more likely to help others, and likely to be more creative when they returned to the office’.
Weekends are our ‘days off’. (If you work shift patterns, obviously your ‘days off’ may vary.) Why not spend a bit of time this week, thinking about how you might make those days off work better for you?
If there is anything you would like to re-discover – activities, hobbies, visits to special places, making time for spiritual moments of any kind, family gatherings, meetings with friends – let us know if you reclaim anything, and how it went for you. You could inspire others.