Take me for example. Like many others, I used to work 80 hours a week at my salaried corporate job. After realizing how miserable I felt, I reduced my hours to 40, using the extra time to pursue side hustles and spend quality time with my family. Then I started working for myself so I can work on my own schedule. Now I'm back to 80-hour work weeks again.
One would think us entrepreneurs would want to work less while making more money and having more freedom to do fun things like go on vacations. Enter our need to put food on the table combined with our workaholic tendencies, and self-care activities like vacations become a distant dream.
No, a "workation" doesn't count. Until you can start taking real vacations, a 2019 study at UCLA Anderson found that treating your weekend like a vacation can provide similar benefits as a "real vacation". Just don't go so crazy that you don't want to come back to work on Monday.
It's not about going on an actual vacation. It's about changing your mindset to think about the present. The change in mindset is when the "real vacation" happens.
Here are five things you can do to completely change your mindset.
1. Change your Monday meetings and deadlines to another day.
I once had a math professor who never gave quizzes or tests on a Monday. His reason? Many people already hate Mondays because they have to get back to school or work. Throwing exams into the mix would just make them more stressed.
The same concept can also be applied to work. If you have important meetings and deadlines on Monday, you'll be stressed out about them all weekend. You might even try to get ahead of them by working instead of enjoying the weekend.
2. Catch up "with yourself."
There will always be things you need to catch up on for your bosses, clients, spouses, and kids, but you need some alone time to catch up with yourself too. I like to use my Saturday mornings to catch up on writing and Sunday mornings to catch up on reading. Both of these activities help me understand and explain my thoughts better.
3. Start meditating.
You know meditation is good for you, but at the same time, you don't see yourself meditating daily. I can speak from my wife's and my own experience that meditation takes getting used to, but once you do, you'll wonder why you didn't start sooner.
If you aren't sure how to start meditating, get the clear app. I used to find meditation mostly boring, but this app makes it fun and easy.
4. Start celebrating the little things.
When you're too busy chasing big things, little things that bring everyday joy often go unnoticed. This weekend, try to:
Take some deep breaths. Smile more. Listen more. Hug a pillow, stuffed animal, or a pet (make sure the pet's owners are ok with it!). Call or text a loved one to say how much you appreciate them. Write or draw using pen and paper.
5. Give someone else your phone.
Do you find yourself checking your phone more often than you would like to admit? Even when there are no new notifications?
You're not alone. Everyone could use a break from their phones and other devices from time to time. You could power it down completely, but there is always the chance that you'll miss out on a true emergency situation. A better option might be to temporarily give someone else your phone. The other person can still alert you in case of a life-or-death situation.
Unless you have a really good reason to work over the weekend, use these tips to achieve a vacation mindset without actually going on a vacation. Some of these can also be applied during the workweek.