The weekend is a period almost everyone looks forward to because it is a time of rest and recuperation. We are always bombarded with issues and emotional baggage that weigh heavily upon us in our everyday lives. Conflicts in our relationships with different people, problems with work, family drama, insufficient resources, the list is endless. These things take a toll on our body and eat away at our energy the longer we leave them unresolved, and we tend to start spiralling down the path of resignation, helplessness and dissatisfaction. Life becomes a drag. Thus, we tend to look towards the weekend in order to gain back some ‘us’ time and energy. But what if we don’t have to wait till the weekend? There are ways we can work around immersing some of our weekends into our weekdays.
One thing you can do is, every day, we should set an intention to declutter at least one thing that matters, that is weighing us down. These can be simple yet important tasks to complete. For instance, calling back home and letting your family know how you’re doing, replying to an important email that you’ve been putting off, or just ensuring that your refrigerator is stocked for the week so you wouldn’t have to worry about it for the rest of the week. As long as it is something that is important to complete, even if it isn’t at the forefront of your attention, it’s still there at the back of your mind, and that takes away energy.
We usually have a list of these things to do. In fact, we have many to-do lists for the different aspects of our life: work, home, school, and personal. So what you can do is, from these lists, pick out some of the things that are more salient and complete them. If there are things that have been left on that list for a long time, the more energy you have that is stuck there. By decluttering, you are freeing up emotional, mental and physical space in your life for other things you may wish to do. You are also freeing up energy that has been stuck there, and this will give you a greater capacity and sometimes even a renewed vigour to take on and overcome more challenges.
Another thing you can do is dedicate 30 minutes to an hour every day to doing a single activity that you love and brings you fully into the present. Something that you can fully immerse yourself into. It does not have to be something extravagant or something you can label a ‘hobby’. For some, it can be just spending time catching up and reconnecting with people they love. For some, it’s exercising, like doing yoga or going for a run. For some, it’s watching football. The key is that it is something you can be fully present to, that your mind will not wander away from. If you are someone who likes to multitask, take this duration of time and dedicate it solely to one activity.
Many people will start to think that this is too much work, but the underlying principle of this is not for it to be taken as work, but as a downtime, a time dedicated to yourself in a manner that will bring back some joy and meaning into your life. It is also a time to work on your self-expression, a time where you can just be. Self-expression does not mean you have to be incredibly artistic or creative – it means being authentic to yourself. Someone who chooses to spend 30 minutes to an hour with his family is expressing himself in his role as a father or son. For people who have to spend a majority of their week in environments that may be toxic or energy-draining, such as in the workplace or in school, doing this activity can be liberating.
We know the importance of being ourselves, but we are not well-practiced in it, and while it should be our natural state of being, it has become something that we have to work hard towards finding and building. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as a suppressive environment, emotional trauma, and blockages, and all these things sap the energy out of our lives. That’s why this is a good place to start gaining back some such that we may live more vibrantly.
It is also important to distinguish between an activity you love doing and an addiction – the latter tends to be draining and a means of escapism. For instance, drinking and smoking. While you may experience a high initially, the experience leaves you more tired and drained than when you first began. Take note of your energy levels after doing the thing you love: if you feel more joyful, more present, grounded, or energetic, you know you’re on the right path. If not, change gears and find something else.