When the clock hits 5 p.m. on Friday, your mind is supposed to transition from “work” mode to “me” mode. The switch from one extreme to the other isn’t always that simple, though. Unless you consciously choose to de-stress and relax, you’ll find it challenging to make the most of your break.
Weekend relaxation matters
According to a study in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, research shows that mentally detaching oneself from work by relaxing and engaging in non-job related tasks and responsibilities during the weekend actually helps employees feel and perform better upon their return to work the following week.
Specifically, relaxation during the weekend is shown to increase positive feelings -- such as joviality, self-assurance, and serenity -- while decreasing negative feelings like fear and sadness.
But there are also negative consequences associated with not relaxing on the weekend. For individuals who are forced to deal with issues like family conflicts, housework and excessive chores, these negative non-work experiences actually increase negative feelings by the end of the weekend and therefore influence the beginning of the following work week.
As the study’s authors write, “This underscores the importance of the weekend for recovery experiences, as this is an important time to rejuvenate before going into a new week of work demands.”
Three ways entrepreneurs de-stress on the weekend
Decompressing and relaxing on the weekend doesn’t necessarily mean melting into the sofa with a bowl of popcorn and binge-watching Netflix. To maximize your weekends, try doing what today’s most successful entrepreneurs are doing.
1. Turn off email.
While there are many advantages to having smartphones and mobile devices, the frustrating aspect of modern technology is that you can never really disconnect. Even if you’re away from work, email notifications still pop up and vie for your time. So, if you want to enjoy your weekend without thinking about work, you need to turn off email notifications until Monday morning.
If you’re worried about missing an email or not sending a prompt reply, set up an away message that says something like, “Thanks for contacting me! I’m out of the office and away from email for the weekend. I’ll review your message on Monday morning and get back to you as soon as possible.”
This message lets others know that you’re away from work for a couple of days -- not ignoring their emails.
2. Spend time outdoors.
As an entrepreneur, you probably spend most of your time in an office. As such, you don’t get to enjoy the outdoors as much as you’d like. But, that’s what weekends are for! Here are some outdoor activities that entrepreneurs often participate in:
Hiking. When the weather allows, hiking is one of the best ways to clear your mind and get a little exercise. Find a state or national park near you and plan out a hike with your kids, spouse or close friend.
Snorkeling. Do you live near the coast or a calm, clear body of water? Snorkeling is an excellent way to simultaneously spend time in the water, get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of nature -- and it’s not as challenging as you may think. All you need is some basic equipment and a few pointers from an instructor.
Playing sports. If you’re spending the entire weekend carpooling your kids around for different team sports and games, then the last thing you want to do is spend more time at a field or court. However, team sports are great for adults, too. They allow you to engage in healthy competition, increase your fitness and meet new people. Try joining a casual league.
You don’t have to go cliff jumping or skydiving to bring out your adventurous side on the weekend. Try one of the above activities and you’ll return to work refreshed on Monday.
3. Wake up early.
Many entrepreneurs can’t wait for the weekend because it allows them to unplug the alarm clock and sleep in. Well, here’s a piece of non-traditional advice: Set your alarm and get out of bed at the same time as you do during the week.
The idea here is that you do yourself a favor by maintaining a consistent internal clock. Furthermore, when you arise two or three hours earlier on the weekends, you suddenly get that much more time to do things you enjoy. Grab a cup of coffee and read the newspaper. Get involved in a hobby. Have brunch with friends. The options are endless.