Here’s an incredible hack for eliminating Monday blues: Treat your weekend like a vacation.
Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we find ways to go back to work feeling ‘elated’.
Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced what social scientists are calling ‘time poverty’ – the feeling of being constantly rushed off our feet. According to a 2009 study in the Germany-based Journal of Business Ethics, those who constantly feel short of time experience lower levels of happiness, and higher levels of anxiety, depression and stress. They also exercise less and are less healthy, and their productivity at work is diminished.
While many of us are truly crunched for time, for others, it may have more to do with their mindset – a ‘sensation’ of time loss, rather than it being a reality.
Either way, there’s a small mindset change you can make to regain a more purposeful, joyous way of life. According to a January 2019 study in US-based business news magazine Harvard Business Review (HBR), the strategy is to treat your weekend like a mini-holiday – with no expensive flight tickets or time-consuming travel involved.
The study focused on more than 400 working Americans over the span of a regular weekend in May 2017. Leading up to the weekend, the researchers instructed half the participants to treat the weekend like a vacation, while the other half were told to treat is as they would any regular weekend – the participants were left to interpret the instructions as they wanted. And so, the experiment began.
The results were telling – those who treated their weekend like a vacation reported significantly higher levels of happiness than those who treated it as a regular weekend. The researchers repeated the study on another weekend in 2018, and the results were exactly the same.
So, what were people doing differently? The study found that the ‘vacationers’ behaved slightly differently – they reduced their housework and office work (if they had any), stayed in bed for longer, and spent more time eating. However, these changes weren’t responsible for their increased happiness – it was the fact that they were more mindful and attentive to moments spent doing weekend activities.
Making breakfast pancakes, for instance, was a common activity on the weekend for one participant, but this time, she said she enjoyed the process of making it, without thinking about the past week or future anxieties – she savoured the experience.
Even if you can’t take the entire weekend ‘off’ because of obligations, it’s still possible to go into vacation mode with enjoyable moments spread throughout the two days. According to the HBR report, the benefits of a ‘vacation mindset’ carry through to the start of the week as well – you return to work feeling energised and looking forward to new challenges.
So, next weekend, slow down, notice what you’re doing and try to make your time more enjoyable – it’s as simple as playing upbeat music while vacuuming or sipping on a mocktail while folding laundry. Happy holidays!
Will you try this strategy? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at email@example.com.