I want to ask you a question my dear readers - when did you last take a weekend?
And I mean a proper weekend! Not a weekend where you say you are going to get together with your girlfriends or your bros at a bar or brunch but spend the whole time glued to your phone checking work emails or messaging your coworkers. And I also do not mean the type of weekend when you tell yourself you’ll just spend a few hours working and before you know it, it is Sunday evening and you didn't even get to go outside once to enjoy the day.
I’m talking about those totally work-free weekends - Saturday and Sunday - back like when we were children and not confined to a life of the disheartening 9-to-5! Those weekends where our bosses aren't on our cases about not answering an email right away or even missing out on a call. I am really talking about those weekends where you can kick-back, put your feet up, and simply just idle. Simply just do what you want and what your heart desires.
The point that I am making is that the majority of people within the United States are more likely to spend more hours at work than they do with family or friends. While this may show that engaged employees are motivated and dedicated to their organization, it is important for employers to recognize that their employees need time away from the workplace to stay properly engaged and stay motivated and positive when it comes to their work day experiences.
The Importance of a Work-Life and Home-Life Balance
Employers definitely need to promote more of a work-life balance philosophy as part of their overall workplace culture. But this is where the terminology gets confusing. “Work-life” balance implies that what your employees do for you (their job or their career) and their personal life (all their time outside your workplace) are in comparison with each other - but let's take a moment to redefine the words, shall we?
The issue with describing work-life balance this way is that there is a "trade-off" -one side must be ‘up’ and the other one ‘down,’ like a weighing scale that has two sides to it - it is up to the singular person to define where the two align or where they keep the most weight.
This being said, there is no denying that the pursuit of work-life balance reduces the stress employees experience. When they spend the majority of their days on work-related activities and feel as if they are neglecting the other important components of their lives, stress and unhappiness are the overall end result.
Why It Is Important To Create Time For Yourself On The Weekends
If you are curious as to why it is important to make time for yourself on the weekends, here are some of the top scientific reasons we found as to why:
- Taking Time Off Makes You More Productive - In a report posted by the Business Roundtable, it was found that working 60-hours every week for only two months could drastically affect productivity and equate to that of only working 40-hours a week.
- Even When You Aren't Working, Your Brain Still Has Work To Do - even when you are at rest, your brain still has important processing it needs to do in order to work properly. This includes everything from improving memory to problem solving.
- Resting Can Actually Help You Love Your Job - When you take rest, research has shown that even the most challenging of workaholics loved their job even more when giving time off and proper rest. They were also more likely to stay within their positions.
- Overtime Can Make You Depressed - Working overtime and not managing your work-life balance can actually make you depressed. Regardless of smoking, drinking, or even work-related social support, long hours can double your chances of depression according to that of a 2012 study.
- Work Is The Number One Reason For Sleep Loss - Think about all those long hours you spend at night thinking about the work emails, responsibility, and task you need to do the next morning. It can be draining but can also keep you up at night! Workers who spend countless hours working are more likely to earn less than six hours of sleep - especially if they work multiple jobs.
- Extra Work Days Mean Extra Stress - One study had shown that working more hours can increase your cortisol levels - especially when you are working and not on a rest day.
How To Create Time For Yourself On The Weekends
If you want to ensure that you have your weekends free from work, here are some tips:
- Learn To Unplug - Keep a separate work and home phone or laptop if possible and let your employers know that you will not be checking it over the weekend. Keep the phone in a drawer and keep the laptop off so you are not tempted to check it.
- Find A "Happy Place" - If there is a park, cafe, restaurant, beach - wherever - that you like to go with your friends and family, make it a habit and try to go every weekend.
- Keep A To-Do List - Keep a list of all the task you want to accomplish for the work-week. Organize a set amount for each task to examine how long a project or task might take. If a project doesn't get done, move it to the next week.
- Make Your Weekend Fun - Use the weekend to connect with friends and family, explore a new hobby, or do all the things you have been wanting to do. Go swimming if the weather is nice, go out for food with your friends, or even attend a yoga class!
- Keep A Separate Work Zone At Home - When there are days you may find yourself working from home, take the time to designate a separate workplace that is away from the everyday comforts of home. Know to only do work when you are in that room.
With these tips and mindset, you will be having your weekends back in no time!
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