07 Sep

Weekend Work

My writing today was prompted by this LifeHacker article.  If this piques your interest, I suggest checking it out for more science behind this topic.

What are you going to do this weekend?  Are you looking forward to it?  How do you think you’ll feel when it’s all over?

Okay, here’s another one for you:

Imagine your ideal vacation.  Where is it?  What are you doing (or not doing) while you’re there?  And how will you feel when you get back?

If you’re anything like me, the answers to these questions inevitably involve some combination of sleeping and drinking.  It’s vacation/the weekend!  I’m tired and stressed from a week at work.  I want to unwind, relax.  And while the goal is to feel rested and refreshed at the end, if I’m honest about sleeping in on Saturday and then following it up with a nice long nap, or spending a few days drinking margaritas on the beach, I’m probably not going to feel that peppy come Monday morning.

Do I learn?  Heck, no!  Next weekend, I’ll still be thinking about happy hour and vegging out in front of a movie.  And why is that?  Well,

… we are drawn—powerfully, magnetically—to those things that are easy, convenient, and habitual, and it is incredibly difficult to overcome this inertia. Active leisure is more enjoyable, but it almost always requires more initial effort-getting the bike out of the garage, driving to the museum, tuning the guitar, and so on. (via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work)

So, I still have my weaknesses – especially when I’m tired on Friday and haven’t planned for the weekend – but I guess I’m not alone.  I have gotten better with my vacations, though, and that’s actually a big part of what motivates my vision for Retreat Austin.  Several years ago, I began to recognize that my vacations were a lot more fun – and left me feeling truly rejuvenated – if I planned them around some kind of active learning.  All the better if they also included spending time with a group of like-minded people.  Now, I’ve never been an adventure-sports type, so surfing vacations and mountain-biking weekends were out.  But a writing retreat?  Well.  That hits the spot.

Need more encouragement?  Listen to this:

According to the American Psychological Association, the most effective stress-relief strategies are exercising or playing sports, praying or attending a religious service, reading, listening to music, spending time with friends or family, getting a massage, going outside for a walk, meditating or doing yoga, and spending time with a creative hobby. The least effective strategies are gambling, shopping, smoking, drinking, eating, playing video games, surfing the Internet, and watching TV or movies for more than two hours. (via The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It)

Do something that makes you feel good this weekend.  Put down that beer, get off the couch, and get to “work”. :)