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Stress has a fun way to sneak up on you when you least expect it, but how you react is only half the battle. The secret to winning the fight against stress is what you do when you are not working (and probably not stressed).
While I have a hobby that I practice regularly (surfing), it is not the antidote to stress you may think. Think about it: even if you have a hobby for which you have a great passion, you will not spend more than 10% of your time outside of the intended work. What really matters is what you do with these other 90%.
You need to structure to use these other 90% wisely. Otherwise, you will fall into bad habits that can increase your stress rather than alleviate it. I structure my time religiously by following these 10 rules when I’m not working.
These rules work wonderfully with one limitation: they don’t work as well if you work too hard. Sure, we’re busy, but if you work 80 to 90 hours a week, you don’t have the energy or focus to use your time outside of work wisely.
And it makes no sense to work that way. A Standford study found that hourly productivity drops sharply when weekly work exceeds 50 hours and productivity drops so much after 55 hours that it no longer makes sense to work. Right, people who work 70 hours (or more) a week actually achieve the same number of goals as those who work 55 hours.
My rules help me change relaxation and rejuvenation activities in my free time. Try them out and see if they can help you find your balance.
Rule 1: separate
Logging out is the main strategy on this list. If you can’t figure out how to electronically remove yourself from your job, you never really quit your job.
If you are available 24/7 from your job, you can download stress factors that prevent you from refocusing and recharging. If you’re unable to take the entire weekend off without emails and calls, try setting certain times on Saturday and Sunday to check your email and voicemail.
Creating schedules in short blocks of time will relieve your stress without compromising availability.
Rule 2: minimize housework
Housework tends to monopolize your free time. In this case, you lose the opportunity to relax and think. What’s worse is when a lot of tasks feel like work and if you spend the whole weekend doing it, you have a seven-day work week. To prevent this, you need to plan your tasks as you would during the week. If you don’t do it within the allotted time, you can do it the following weekend.
Rule 3: practice
Don’t have time to exercise during the week? You have 48 hours to do this every weekend. If you keep your body moving for at least 10 minutes, GABA is released, a calming neurotransmitter that reduces stress. Practice is also a great way to develop new ideas. Innovators and other successful people know that it is often creative to be outside.
I know that I got many of my best ideas while surfing. In the ocean, the combination of exciting activity and beautiful scenery creates the perfect environment in which creativity can flow. When you run, ride a bike, or work in the garden, exercise produces endorphins. The key is to find physical activity that will do this for you and then become an important part of your weekly routine.
Rule 4: Chase a Passion
You will be amazed at what happens when you pursue something in your free time that you love passionately. Agreeing to your passion is a great way to escape stress and open your mind to new ways of thinking. Things like playing music, reading, writing, painting, or even walking around with your kids can help you stimulate different mindsets that can pay off in the next week.
Rule 5: Spend time with your family
If you want to recharge and relax, it is important to spend time with the family. The days of the week are so hectic that the whole week can pass and prevent good family time. Don’t let that happen on weekends. Take your children to the park, take your partner to their favorite restaurant and visit your parents. You will love to do it.
Rule 6: micro adventure program
Buy tickets for a concert or game, or reserve at the new hotel they opened in the city. Plan a walk instead of running on a treadmill. Try something that you haven’t done before, or maybe something you haven’t done in a long time. Studies show that the expectation that something good will happen is an essential part of what makes activity enjoyable. Knowing that you have something interesting planned for Saturday is not only fun on Saturday, it also improves your mood significantly throughout the week.
Rule 7: Get up at the same time
It’s tempting to sleep over the weekend to sleep again. Though it may feel good temporarily, an inconsistent time to wake up disrupts your daily rhythm (and can make depression worse). Your body goes through an extensive series of sleep phases so that you can wake up refreshed and refreshed. One of these phases is to prepare your mind to be awake and alert, which is why people often wake up just before the alarm (the brain is trained and ready). If you sleep on the weekend after your usual waking hour, you will feel dizzy and tired. Not only does this adversely affect your day off, it also makes you less productive on Mondays because your brain is not ready to wake up at the usual time. If you need to catch up on sleep, go to bed earlier.
Rule 8: Think
Weekly reflection is a powerful tool for improvement. Use the weekend to see the great forces that shape your industry, your organization and your work. Without being distracted from work Monday through Friday, you should be able to see things in a whole new light. Use these insights to change your approach next week and improve your efficiency and effectiveness in your work.
Rule 9: Set morning for yourself
It can be difficult to have time for yourself at the weekend, especially if you have a family. First thing in the morning to find a way to participate in an activity that you’re passionate about can bring happiness and sanity. It’s also a great way to improve your daily rhythm by forcing yourself to wake up at the same time as on weekdays. Your mind will peak two to four hours after you wake up. So get up early to do something physical, then sit down and do something mental while your mind is at its best.
Rule 10: Prepare for the next week
The weekend is a good time to spend a few moments planning your next week. Just 30 minutes of planning can lead to significant increases in productivity and reduce stress. The week feels much more manageable when you approach a plan because all you have to do is focus on execution.
And what do you do to recharge yourself in your free time?