By Roti Brown
When I first settled into the ‘new normal’ of pandemic life, my usual routine was thrown off balance into unorganized chaos, which I was not prepared for. Work-from-home orders disguised Mondays as Fridays, my bedroom was no longer a work-free safe space, and my weekend activities became nothing more than grocery trips and anti-panic breathing exercises. Naturally, the constant stress of the ever-changing pandemic updates left little room for truly effective downtime.
As COVID-19 restrictions deemed the majority of our most-visited locations unsafe, the mental burdens we used to leave at work inevitably invaded our homes. Although we've come a long way from where we were just a year ago, for many of us, our homes are still serving as our offices, movie theaters, spas, and restaurants.
Now, it is increasingly important that we take time to unplug, cool off, and deliberately seek out the mental reboot needed after a long workweek. Here are a few digestible ways I reset my mental state on the weekends.
Don't Schedule a Routine; Create a Ritual
Weekends often serve as a time for us to catch up on neglected responsibilities from the past week, which can leave necessary tasks feeling like last-minute chores.
Rather than allowing your errands to become arbitrary, schedule them in, and if you can, find a way to work in an enjoyable aspect.
Eat Your Greens
I do this by visiting my local farmer’s market. Grocery shopping has never been on my preferred activity list, and I rarely have time to squeeze in runs between all those Zoom calls (that could have been emails). I can't skip out on grocery shopping, so instead, I've found a way to reframe it and turn it into a weekend activity that I truly look forward to.
Now, I stroll through the market, indulge in some light banter with vendors, enjoy the crisp air, and leave with all the fresh produce and food I need to sustain me for the week. With this painless reframe, I’ve turned what feels like a mundane chore into a weekend ritual that serves me not just nutritionally but helps to fill my mental cup as well.
A few more simple ways I reframe weekend tasks:
If I’m dreading my weekly cleaning tasks: I don't plan an intense scrubbing session every Sunday! Instead, I focus on what needs to be done, listen to my favorite podcast while I work, and do just enough to find the cleansing process both enjoyable and productive.
When I need to get a workout in: This is an important activity that I find myself avoiding. To reframe it and make it enjoyable, I choose a scenic location, take away the pressure of burning calories, and enjoy the beauty of where I am while working toward my fitness goals.
Movement Can be the Best Medicine
Please note my deliberate use of the word “movement” over “working out.” To be clear, working out is an important and effective way to relieve some built-up stress from the week. However, when we think of working out, we tend to instinctively couple it with intensity. Movement is simple, even leisurely at times. And given that most of our work these days is done virtually, it’s fair to assume that we’re not all getting enough of it.
Prioritize a walk, a 30-minute stretch, or something equally as relaxing for you that rewards your body with movement after a sedentary workweek.
Bask in Nothingness
Chances are, you've been consumed with work all week—answering emails, attending a never-ending list of Zoom meetings, and brainstorming solutions. What if, for a brief moment, you give yourself permission to detach from your professional responsibilities and just do nothing?
I try to find time for peace and quiet every single day. I power down my phone, turn off the news, and just enjoy a break. This quiet time often comes by way of meditation. I’ll find a spot outside and try my best to clear my mind. For this intentional nothingness to be effective, it doesn’t have to be intense. Go for a drive, sit in your car with no other goal than to not think about work, designate a few hours over the weekend to stay off your social media accounts, or choose a serene location to pick up that book you've been promising yourself you’d finish. Whatever it is, just slow down.
My hope for all of us is that we’d take the time to set aside our stress and be courageous enough to make room for rest after a long workweek.
We have all the tools we need to reclaim our time Friday through Sunday. So, plug your personal interest, prioritize your peace, and use your weekend wisely to wind down and reset for the week to come. And remember, rest is an essential practice if we want to show up fully, authentically, and with holistic health in mind.
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