In today’s fast-paced world, it often feels like we’re constantly sprinting from one workweek to the next, using our weekends as a pit stop to recover from the exhaustion. However, this approach not only robs us of the true potential of our weekends, but also contributes to burnout.
It’s high time we reevaluate our relationship with weekends, turning them into an opportunity for rejuvenation, genuine rest, and joy rather than a mere recovery from the workweek grind.
The modern world is obsessed with productivity and busy-ness. Many of us inadvertently wear “busy” as a badge of honour, filling our weekdays with never-ending tasks and responsibilities, leaving us depleted by the time the weekend arrives. In response, we treat weekends as a chance to crash, sleep in, and catch up on Netflix shows, using them as a recovery period so we can face the coming week ahead.
While this may seem necessary, it’s not the ideal way to recharge. Our weekends deserve more than being a mere workweek recovery. They offer a valuable opportunity to reconnect with ourselves, our loved ones, and our passions. So, how can we make this transformation from recovery to rejuvenation?
First we have to get clear on what matters most. So many of us end up on the “hamster wheel” of life, constantly running without ever taking a moment to stop, find some space and question where we are running to, and if that destination is truly aligned with the life we want to live.
I spend a significant amount of my career helping people explore their internal worlds, understanding their internal blueprint, their true north. That place they can come back to time and time again as they navigate career transitions, relationships and their sense of contentment and meaning in life.
When we are in alignment with these parts of ourselves, we are energised. But, if we are out of alignment, the exhaustion creeps in. So what can help you understand and reconnect you with what matters most?
Check up on your personal values
Your personal values are your life’s deepest drivers and motivators. Think of them like tree roots; they keep you grounded and held in place whilst nourishing and sustaining you. When your weekdays and work align with your values, they become less draining, making the transition to the weekend smoother.
Research shows us that our values impact our individual happiness, relationship quality, wellbeing, decision making and creativity amongst many other areas. So, it’s important to do a spot check to ensure you’re staying true to what matters most. It’s super easy too, with free evidence-based tools such as the Map of Me Values Game, which asks you to answer a few questions in order to discover your deepest drivers.
Discover the wheel of life
The wheel of life is also a tool that you can leverage, which allows you to reflect on your satisfaction with different areas of your life and how you are spending your time. It is a snapshot of how you feel about your life at a given moment, and can change. The factors listed in the wheel are all important for our overall well-being and life satisfaction. So, if you are feeling exhausted from your weekdays, you can use this tool to pause for a moment, take stock and see what areas you may be over-focusing on at the expense of others — or simply what areas may provide benefit and energy if you focus on them.
Picture your future self
Harvard Social psychologist Dr Daniel Gilbert suggests we consider our future selves and let that thinking guide our current behaviour. To do this, find a quiet space and imagine your desired future self. Who do you want to be? How do you want to feel? What do you want to do?
Once you have clarity on your future self, set clear goals aligned with this vision. If you don’t take the time to imagine who you want to be, you’ll reactively become whatever life throws at you and feel like life is constantly happening to you. We are all in a constant state of becoming, so let your desired future self guide your current actions.
Through these three activities you can begin to understand how your current life reflects what matters most to you. Is it aligned? If not, where can you make changes? Take stock and recalibrate to improve your wellbeing.