The work weekend grind. It is inevitable and necessary for many creatives, small business owners, nurses, and other professionals to put in long hours during the weekend. It is EASY to slip into the feeling like you are missing out as your Instagram fills up with farmer’s market, patios, vacations, and weddings. For me, summer is the worst! As a night-shift nurse working 12+ hour shifts, I have to sleep during these beautiful sun filled days and then wake up, head to work, and repeat.
At first, it was a struggle. I had a hard time finding balance and keeping a positive attitude. It was this constant nagging feeling that I was missing the weekend.
With a few adjustments to my mindset and planning, I started to train myself to reprogram my thoughts and schedule so I could have happy and healthy work weekends.
Here are 9 tips for balance and happiness during your work weekend:
1. See the positive. If negative thoughts creep in during your work weekend, think of 3 reasons that you love your job and wouldn’t have it any other way. Remember, you are doing something that you are passionate about. Focus on the perks of getting a lot of my hours in on the weekend! Namely less busy gyms, grocery stores, pools, hikes…
2. Schedule and maximize your off time. Even if you are in the middle of your busy season, it’s important to schedule off time. You need it in order to be able to stay focused during your work days and to have something to look forward to. Put it in your calendar and stick to it. You wouldn’t cancel a meeting with an important client, so why would you cancel your time to recharge? It is just as essential, and your work life will reap the benefits.
3. Plan ahead to minimize stress and make healthy choices. I love to do is prepare meals and snacks for my busy work weekends. I will cook meals that can be easily stored and reheated. That way I can just grab and go. It may be more time upfront, but believe me, it will save you both stress and unhealthy choices.
4.Workout. It’s science. A workout will boost your mood and put some pep in your step. Let those feel good endorphins flow! As a health and fitness blogger I absolutely had to add this point 😉 I always hit the gym or go on a run if my stress is getting the best of me during my work weekend and it makes it 10x better. Add some Beyoncé to your earbuds and you are set! Maybe it’s just squeezing in a walk during a workday.
5. Make small plans. On a work weekend, it is important to have a little something to look forward to. This past weekend I met my husband at our favorite local breakfast spot for a date before going home to get some sleep. Just having a time to see catch up with him and spend time together brightened my mood and gave me a small glimpse of the weekend.
6. Get some alone time in. Even if you are the most outgoing person in the world, you need some time to yourself. If you are busy, busy…it’s easy to find yourself in a stressed state. I love deep breathing, reading, or writing a blog post that I’m excited about. It just has to be solitary and quiet.
7. Learn to say “no”. If your schedule is already jammed packed with work, you are not going to be able to make every baby shower or BBQ. Instead of filling your plate to the brim with busyness, prioritize and understand when to politely decline. One tip I picked up at my TuesdaysTogether meeting was that you do not have to give reasons why you are unable to attend. Many people feel obligated to give a reason.
8. Take it a day at a time. It can be overwhelming to think of your upcoming weekend schedule. Say you are a wedding photographer and it is your busy season, how overwhelming would it be to think: “I have 8 weddings in a row?” Stay in the moment and focus on each one individually. I find countdowns to be counterproductive. I don’t want to count down my life; I want to make the best of each day, even if it’s a stretch of four 12-hour shifts on back-to-back weekends.
9. Get a 5-minute pep-talk from a friend. If all else fails and I’m feeling sad about missing an event, I pick up the phone and call a friend who is a good listener. I was down in the dumps about working the 4th of July last year (my favorite holiday), and my best friend fielded my call on her boat! She just listened and acknowledged my feelings. It was exactly what I needed, and I immediately felt better. Thank goodness for supportive, awesome friends!
Just because your schedule is different than the norm, it is your norm. It’s important to adjust your mindset and strike a balance that you are happy with. What are some of your go to tricks for adjusting your mindset?