WORK-LIFE BALANCE / NOV. 27, 2014
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How to Make Yourself Relax on Your Day Off

Some people are tempted to push through with rarely any time off, thinking that the more time they spend on tasks, the more productive they’ll be. While it seems logical, actually the opposite is true. Numerous studies have shown that working long hours doesn’t make you more productive at all -- and in some cases, not taking the time to rest and relax can lead to burnout, depression and other negative effects.

Still, really, truly relaxing on your day off can be easier said than done. With constant reminders of work and chores that need finishing, your whole weekend could be spent in a far from relaxing way.

If you’re struggling to make yourself relax on your day off, here are some ways to work on it.

Plan ahead

To really enjoy your time off, don’t leave things to the last minute. Not only will planning your activities allow you to have more fun on the actual day it’s happening, but it can also save you some money. When you plan ahead of time, you’ll have the chance to sort through coupons or special deals for massages, salon treatments, dining packages or other fun, relaxing adventures. Not only that, but by planning ahead, you’ll have the time blocked out on your calendar, meaning you can’t fill it up with other things that aren’t so fun or relaxing.

On the flip side, don’t plan anything

If you’re a constant planner who organizes your life down to the minute, you probably don’t need the advice to plan ahead. When that’s the case, do the opposite and plan nothing. Turn off your alarm clock so you don’t wake up at a certain time. Allow yourself to sleep in as long as you want. For the rest of the day, make an effort to just go with the flow. Eat whatever’s in the fridge for breakfast. Watch TV if you feel like it, read a book or laze around in the hammock. Make an effort to simply do nothing.

Make a "Sabbath" box

In the Jewish tradition, the Sabbath or "Shabbos" is a day of rest from work, from spending money and even from driving. To ensure that everyone sticks with the plan, some families use a Sabbath box, into which they put their keys, wallets, mobile phones and anything else that can distract them from the day of rest and relaxation. Enlist the help of your spouse or the rest of your family to help in this one. Put away the things that will tempt you to do work, and get your family or spouse to help you stick to the plan and avoid opening the box.

Get away

When you’re surrounded by your belongings and the reminders of your daily life, it can be tough to really unplug. Instead of trying to relax in that everyday environment, why not get out of it? Even a one-day getaway to the beach or a night at a hotel spa can often be enough to recharge your batteries and to remind you that it’s OK to do something besides think about work.

Hire some help

Even if you’re staying away from your work computer and keeping your work phone turned off, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you need to clean the bathroom, wash the windows or do other deep-cleaning projects that don’t get done during a busy work week. But when you really need a day of relaxation, remember that it’s also possible to get help with those chores. Hiring a house cleaner for just two hours once a week might seem like a lot of money, but when it means you get more time for relaxation, it can be money well-spent.

Experiencing a really relaxing day off is a treasure that you owe it to yourself to enjoy, so don’t let the common pitfalls and distractions get in the way.

Image courtesy of Meagan via Flickr

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