If you’re watching the clock and waiting for 5pm Friday to roll around, there’s a good chance you’re looking forward to some well-earned time off.
Now in December, there are only a few more weekends before the holiday season, so we’re looking at how to get the most out of those limited days off. The recommendation is that to make a weekend feel truly lived; you’ll need to do something different.
In his book, The Brain: The Story of You, David Eagleman, Professor at Stanford University, says the key is to search out newness.
He posits that when you’re engaged in a new activity or visiting a new location, you become more focused on collecting unfamiliar information to forge into memory. While it may seem ‘relaxing’ to be doing little, even feeling as though time has passed very slowly, come Monday you won’t have much to look back on.
Starting at the beginning
Trying a novel activity has other benefits aside from brushing away the cobwebs of mundanity. There’s a beautiful, humbling effect of taking some lessons and approaching them with a beginner’s mind.
You might try something for the body: surfing, golf, paddle-boarding or karate. Whatever it is, the new experience will add to your personal growth, even if it may end up being a one-off.
It doesn’t have to be anything outlandish. Even a visit to an unfamiliar neighbourhood will do. While many people may only visit an art gallery abroad, but there are dozens of galleries, exhibitions and attractions around your city, and many are free.
If you find yourself working (or thinking about work) across the weekend, there may be some more significant changes that you need to make. Any athlete worth their medals will attest to the importance of recovery time to balance out training. Mental recovery is just as significant; taking time off from a task may increase your productivity through improving your capacity to problem solve.
Being busy is different from being productive. All goals should be means to help you achieve the next step in your progression, not leave you a burned out husk from punching through an 80-hour week. You might consider finding a meditation group or booking a session in a sensory deprivation float tank as your ‘new thing’.
Whatever you choose, be sure to schedule some time where nothing is planned. Overscheduling your calendar leaves no room for the spontaneity of a walk with a loved one when the weather’s particularly pleasant. Or, to pick up a book and take it to the cafe around the corner if the feeling grabs you.
If you still don’t feel like you’re getting enough R&R, here are the dates to book your annual leave for 2018 to get the most out of your long weekends.
From all of us at TWD, we hope you have a great weekend!