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Every once in a while a week comes a long that just leaves you yawning profusely before it has barely begun. Such a week is taking place currently, but I am determined to arrive at Friday feeling satisfied with how I navigated through it. Due to the bi-annual conferences we have in the evening on Monday, the workweek is a bit longer than usual. And while it is only four more hours, it is a shift and an opportunity to recognize how we indeed need to find time regularly to recharge before the weekend arrives.
Yesterday, I made sure to go on a nice long walk outside with the dogs in the sunshine, cook myself a delicious dinner that was filling and balanced yet also fun to make, and I reveled in the time to slip off to bed early and read more of a new book I picked up at the bookshop this past weekend (see below as shared on IG stories). And I will be honest, I will likely be enjoying this routine again this afternoon and evening.
I couldn’t help but contemplate the need for a midweek refresher. A midweek boost, so to speak, because even if the week is typical, the week is long and the weekend is short. And even if we sincerely enjoy our careers and/or place of work, we are better workers and better people when we tend to our well-being before the weekend arrives.
As I recognized what I do during my own weekly schedule to combat times when I have fewer hours to myself than I would prefer, I realized that when we choose to be proactive, planning events, activities (or lack-there-of), we preserve the goodness of the week throughout each of the five days, and we are less likely to arrive on Friday barely getting by on the fumes that remain.
Today I would like to share with you five ideas for boosting and recharging midweek so that the entire week may be a pleasure to look forward to.
Schedule a Midweek Afternoon Break
In 2006, the blog Right Attitudes came up with a suggestion for overcoming the mid-week burnout that often occurs even though next week we swear we can push through it and do it better. The suggestion: take an afternoon off for a couple of hours each Wednesday. Why? The productivity and improved efficiency that will increase after the break is taken demonstrates that the quality we provide when we do not take the midweek break is lessened.
Now, understandably, many of us cannot make this a weekly routine, but for those of us who can, why not? Why not plan something midweek that enables you to step away from work, responsibility and serves as a mini-weekend so that you can finish the work week strong?
Add unexpected flavor to your weekday go-to meal
I love salmon. In fact, at least once a week, I will have a salmon fillet for dinner and enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day. So last weekend, when I had the opportunity to take a seafood cooking class and saw that a salmon dish would be one of our recipes, I was tickled. More precisely, a salmon recipe that was full of flavor and low on calories.
This salmon is drenched in a spice rub full of cumin, dry mustard, chili powder, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, sugar, and salt. Once the salmon is seared for two minutes and then cooked for 6-8 in the oven at 350 degrees, a fresh salsa is placed on top. As you can see from the image below, it is colorful, and I will attest, it is delicious. Even better, it takes fewer than 20 minutes to prepare and cook. This recipe, along with all of the recipes I learned, can be found in the instructor’s cookbook, The Passionate Vegetable. Needless to say, last night, after preparing this meal again, my tastebuds were dancing with delight, and I am satiated and full.
Add Natural Light
Depending upon where you work, do what you can to expose yourself to as much natural light throughout the day as possible. Northwestern University found in 2014 that exposure to natural light positively improved participants’ quality of life specifically with regards to one’s “mood, alertness and metabolism”. Productivity increased, a better night’s sleep occurred and a longer night’s sleep as well.
If unfortunately your workspace does not allow much or any natural light, make Wednesday (and as many days as possible throughout the work week) the day that you take a walk outside during lunch, walk to work if possible or find a space in the building to enjoy your lunch with a window that looks out to the world.
Engage in an energy-increasing activity
Perhaps midweek is time to take that yoga class that stills your mind, lets your body stretch and enables a deep night’s sleep. Or maybe Wednesday is when you make a date with yourself to step into your favorite coffee shop to read a good book, work on a puzzle and sip on a expertly made latte. Or maybe midweek is the perfect time to treat yourself and your partner (or just yourself) to a dinner out when crowds are less likely, reservations may not be necessary and you are able to step away from the responsibility of cooking at home, and engage in what relaxes your mind. Whatever activity you choose, choose something that will take you away from the hustle and bustle of the workweek and leave you feeling rested and more at peace.
Make Wednesday the Day of No Errands
When I sit down and look at what my week will be on Sunday, I become quite happy to see days in which I can come home from school and simply walk my dogs and write. Usually I have at least one such day a week, and if I am lucky, two or three. Upon recognizing how much I treasure such days, I began to wonder about making it a habit. Why not set Wednesday aside as “no errand Wednesday”? Not only will you continue to look forward to the weekend’s arrival, but you will also be looking forward to Wednesday’s arrival for the precise reason that you are free. Free to do as you please without expectation, and that alone could open up the day to be one of rebooting, recharging and finishing the week well.
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