Sometime around my freshman year of high school, the definition of the weekend changed. Suddenly, Saturday and Sunday were no longer about searching for ways to fill the time, but rather figuring out how to budget the minimal free space left in my schedule after finishing my homework. And, as far as I know, this experience was not unique to me.
Though efficient for keeping up with classes, this method is not optimal for mental health purposes. In fact, it defeats the purpose of the weekend.
According to Forbes, the most successful people do not work on the weekends. Instead, they utilize the time to revitalize, investing it in passion pursuits, exercise, planning, and family and friends.
Success requires balance, not tireless toil to the point of exhaustion. Using the weekend to work rather than rest contributes to burnout, whereas breaks can provide enough rejuvenation for higher productivity throughout the workweek.
Given the prevalence of toxic productivity (the unhealthy desire to be productive at all times, at all costs) in today’s society, and especially on college campuses, this can seem contradictory to our current belief systems.
For me, even though taking breaks on the weekends seemed to make logical sense, and I knew it would benefit my mental health, arbitrary peer pressure and campus culture mixed with years of habit-building had me second-guessing myself. So, I started small.
I made sure that I did at least one activity each weekend simply because I wanted to.
It doesn’t seem like a lot, but once you realize that you can still be productive while making space in your schedule for things you enjoy, doing so becomes more natural.
Now, it is not nearly as stressful for me to set aside time for myself. Not to mention, my breaks keep me motivated throughout the week (at least enough to carry me to the next weekend).
So, this is your sign.
This weekend, prioritize you.