Need ideas for your upcoming weekend? As we approach the half-way mark of 2013, it’s helpful to think about what we’ve accomplished thus far and how our weekend activities may be impacting our productivity during the work week. Below is a simple list to consider on Saturday and Sunday since taking notice of this advice could lead to a more productive Monday through Friday.
1. Make time for (and give a hug to) your family and friends.
Making time for those you love and affiliating with a group are basic motivational needs for humans. When we feel estranged from people we care about, it can zap our productivity. However, having positive interactions with others can have the opposite effect – especially if it includes the human touch. In fact, study after study indicates that touch has a beneficial effect on our perception of pain, treatment of disease, and emotional and physical development. Every weekend should include distraction-free time for your loved ones as well as a warm embrace.
Much has been written about the physical and psychological benefits of exercise. For the purposes of this short article, let’s focus only on the stress-reducing ramifications. The Mayo Clinic lists the top three stress-reducing reasons for regular exercise as: (1) it increases your endorphins. The brain’s feel-good area kicks into gear whether you’re running, walking, or gardening. (2) It is meditation in motion – meaning that focusing on one thing (instead of multi-tasking) allows your head can clear. And finally, (3) it improves your mood by allowing you to sleep better.
3. Flex Your Creativity.
Whether your personal brand of creativity occurs when you are rearranging your furniture, trying new foods, looking at art, fixing your car, or using alternate routes when driving to the same destination, flexing your creativity can help you solve work problems by allowing you to look at situations for a different perspective. Once you realize that your daily routine is a routine, it’s time to disrupt your comfortable pattern. Your weekend time is a perfect opportunity to grow your creativity muscle. Just remember to flex that muscle during the work week.
Getting the right amount of sleep every night (7-8 hours) allows your body to stay healthy by fighting off bad germs. After especially stressful work weeks, you may find yourself more tired than normal. Be sure to prioritize your need for sleep on the weekends. On Monday morning when you come back to work rested and relaxed, your memory, your mood, and your work product improves.
5. Do Something for Others
Volunteering your time or helping a neighbor with a small task are ways to help others on the weekend. Helping others has physical benefits similar to exercise. In fact, it can lead to a “helper’s high” – that great feeling of joy and happiness you get when you know you have done something helpful – because chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin are secreted when we are helpful. Feeling good about oneself during the weekend and building up a reserve of these feel-good chemicals can help you to deal with stress during the work week.