How To Make Your Weekend More Awesome, and Refreshing

Since it’s Monday, what better time to recognize how you can make your next weekend even more awesome, as well as refreshing?

I came across a recent article on LinkedIn that talked about how researchers did a study in which they asked their participants to treat their weekend as more of a vacation, rather than just the usual weekend filled with errand running, chores and more.  The results?  Not surprisingly, participants returned to their workplace that Monday feeling much more refreshed.

Carla Fried, writing for UCLA Anderson Review:

When it comes to time off, America is definitely not a world leader. A review of mandated vacation policy in 21 countries with advanced economies by the Center for Economic and Policy Research reports that the United States is the only country that doesn’t guarantee workers paid time off, and about one quarter of U.S. workers don’t receive paid holidays and vacation days.

Among the lucky ducks who have paid time off, the workaholic zeitgeist is a strong headwind. According to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans in 2017 on average used 17 of the 23 paid days they were entitled to. That’s actually better than Glassdoor’s 2017 survey of 2,000 workers, in which participants reported using barely more than half their vacation days, on average.

The opportunity cost of forgoing time off is consequential. Academic research has found that taking vacations improves our health, boosts job performance and triggers more creativity.

It also makes us happier. UCLA Anderson’s Colin West, Cassie Mogilner Holmes and Sanford E. DeVoe reviewed data from more than 200,000 Americans who participated in the Gallup Daily poll between 2014 and 2016 and found that, controlling for income and days worked, folks who took more vacation days reported being happier. The good vibes were flowing more, the bad vibes were tamped down and life satisfaction clocked in higher.

Despite the payoff of higher workplace and personal vitality, there is no big effort from the business community (all those wellness programs don’t necessarily make a big push for taking all of one’s vacation days) or public policy to shift us out of our workaholic norms.

What If There Were Another Way?

West, Holmes and DeVoe came up with another idea that might help for the lack of “true vacation.” Instead, try to frame your weekend as more of a vacation.

In two studies that were reported within a working paper, they discovered that when the participants were urged to treat their weekend as a vacation, they return to work on Monday happier than the control group that spent their weekend going about the same as usual.

Of course, it wasn’t for the lack of doing chores or other errand running - it all came down to mindfulness and being present in whatever it was that they were doing. Fore more about the results, be sure to check out the study.

So while many of you may already do this, I found it as an intriguing method that might help others who find themselves frequently running into a “case of the Mondays,” and have a better week.

Do you frame your weekends in this manner?  Feel free to comment below with your tips!