Former Padmasree Warrior, CEO of NextEV, and former CTO of Cisco is known among circles of high-achieving women for taking a “digital detox” day during the weekend. While Warrior was in a uniquely demanding managerial and leadership role, she was senior enough to be able to make that conscious decision. For many of the rest of us, that’s simply not realistic.
Even those of us who don’t work outside the home at all on weekends know what the all-wise Oprah is known for saying: “[Women] put themselves last on the list…believe it’s okay to be a ‘sacrificial lamb’ within their own families….The challenge for women is that they must re-language what it means to be a wife and a mother. Being a good wife and mother means that if you don’t take care of yourself, in the long run you are ultimately harming all the other people you love in your life.” This is true of single women as well, who are often the ones taking care baskets to sick friends, attending birthday parties and events for family members or even on babysitting duty.
So how do we balance the fact that we may have managers or families or friends that need to reach us, and are demanding time of us during the weekend when many of us simply want to put up our feet for a few moments?
Here are 3 ways to recharge over the weekend. None of them necessarily take a very long time, but they create the space for you to rejuvenate and become better for all the people and responsibilities that need you:
1. Get some exercise.
Movement is truly healing. Whatever your level of physical fitness, take a lesson from Ellyn Shook, CHRO of Accenture who has written about the importance of exercise to her productivity and health. There is ample evidence that the body doesn’t distinguish between physical and psychological stress, and that in either case, the body (and mind) suffers. That is why regular exercise is important to improving your mood, as well as fighting anxiety and depression. Especially if your weekday work is largely sedentary, make it a point to just take a quick walk. You don’t have to be a gym rat in order to reap the benefits of physical movement.
2. Get some extra sleep, and barring that, simply lie down for a few moments.
Sometimes this isn’t possible but many times, it’s just that we’re not making the time. Even those of us with newborns can try to nap when our babies nap. And for the rest of us, it can be worth it to go to bed a bit early one night instead of staying out late at a party. Listen to your body and you will emerge from the weekend, recharged and at your best. Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post has written a compelling book all about the importance of sleep, and how it was a discovery she made that impacted her career in positive ways.
3. Take time to do nothing. Consciously.
Non-stop work takes it’s toll. While you might be able to answer another email, write another report, add another analysis to the presentation you’re making, without a true mental break you are simply not going to be creative and see the bigger picture. “Doing nothing” means different things to different people, but it generally means taking your mind and body off of whatever it is that you’re normally fixated on (whether that’s your family, friends, or work). For high-octane professionals, it’s often very difficult to accept the concept of “doing nothing”. Everyone has their own version of what this means…but it usually means emerging feeling more rested than before you did it.
Here’s hoping you’re getting some rest this weekend!
Have you found it hard to really relax over the weekend or found any methods that help you unwind? If so, share your advice and opinions with other women in our community.
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