Who doesn’t love a long weekend or any weekend for that matter? The Easter weekend is here! It’s probably the most beloved long weekend of the year after Carnival. Whether you’re a student going through the paces of the academic year, or working full-time dealing with a ridiculous commute to and from work, most of us anxiously look forward to those few days where we don’t have to head into school or the office.
If you are like me, you make so many plans for what you want to do on the weekend - anything from sleep, to running errands, household chores, or in some cases, even more work. Many of us try to pack so many things into those two days that we don’t think we can get done during the week. The result is that we don’t really get to enjoy those two days as we should. Instead, we end up back in the office or in school on Monday morning with an epic case of Monday blues: wondering where the weekend really went, feeling tired, and struggling to make it to the next Friday; only to do the same thing over again.
I was guilty of this. The weekend was used to do every single that I needed to do. I would devote those two days to everything I thought I could not do during the week, mainly because my commute was long and I was beyond tired when I got home. So between Saturday and Sunday I would do all my laundry, clean everything that needed to be swept, mopped, wiped and dusted, and go out completing other tasks that I set out to do.
I would be on the road almost all day on any given Saturday, making trips to the grocery with my mother, or to the mall because I needed to pick up something…anything. On several occasions (way more than I want to admit to) I would find myself working from home over the weekend. I would only relax a little on Sunday evening, but by then, I was already consumed with what I had to do in the week ahead.
This pattern of behaviour left me feeling constantly stressed and in need of a break. Thankfully, my vacation time soon came and I took a week off from work. While I was away for those few days, I found myself doing all that I needed to do, with less urgency. Instead of rushing to do housework, I took my time and cleaned bit by bit. I scheduled all the tasks that I needed to complete outside of the house in a way that I would not be on the road all day driving or travelling from one end of the country to the other. The change in how I felt when I returned to work after that week was phenomenal. I therefore made it my mission to find a way to keep a healthy balance.
The first thing I did was to create some separation between my work and my home space. I stopped taking home my (office) laptop every day. Why? Because once that laptop was in my space, I would end up doing office work. This would then take me away from things in the home that I would otherwise be focusing on. On the occasion that I needed to get some extra work done, I would instead stay at the office a little later or go in earlier. Once I started doing that, I took it a step further. I would disconnect a bit from my social media. I will admit that I am one of those persons who would be glued to my phone all the time, so this was very hard for me to do. However, when I made the conscious decision to mute all app notifications on my phone when at home, over time I realised that I didn’t feel that impulse as much as before to check my phone every single minute for the latest Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or Instagram notification.
So now that I wasn’t bringing any work at home, and that I wasn’t attached to my phone as much as before, I started taking the time after work to do things that I previously thought I didn’t have the time to do during the week. I broke up all my house work into an almost daily schedule, tackling a different parts of my space every day. It would go a little something like this: sweep the living room on a Monday, clean the bathroom on a Tuesday or do laundry on a Wednesday.
As for anything I needed to take care of, I decided to get some more exercise on my lunch break by taking a walk through Port-of-Spain. I figured, why wait till the weekend, when there are a plethora of places within walking distance of my office that I could visit to obtain what I needed? I decided that at least one lunch break during the week would be used to take care of any business that I had pending while getting some exercise at the same time.
Initially, I wasn’t sure if this switch would work. Even when I began to implement the changes, I was skeptical. But as weekends passed, and I found myself not having any major work to do in the house and not needing to leave house to do anything urgent, I realised that this method of balancing my work and home life was very effective for me. I don’t feel as stressed any more on the weekend. I no longer suffer from an extreme case of Monday blues and most importantly, I now have time to focus on things that I would like to do, versus things that I felt I needed to do.
Most weekends are now filled with a visit to a craft market, church, the occasional trip to the beach, and more downtime where I can just relax and reflect. My weekends now give me the option to pick up a new hobby, visit somewhere I’ve never been before or just work on other projects that I may have placed on the back burner.
Since implementing these changes, I have found a sense of balance, and I’m able to focus more on whatever task I have in front of me at that time. Now this exact method may not work for everyone. Many of us have to take into consideration children, or assisting our parents, the demand that our jobs may place on us, or some of us are both working and in school. But, I would still encourage you to try switching up your routine in some way during the week, so that you can have the type of weekend that leaves you well-rested, relaxed and re-energized for the week ahead.
Tshenelle Bethel-Peters aka Nelly B, is a natural hair, plus size, beauty, and lifestyle blogger; an avid supporter of buying local and a firm believer in the power of a smile. Follow her at www.adayinthelifeofnellyb.com or @blessednelly on Twitter and Instagram