A tribute to the long weekend

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The long weekend is the best weekend, especially for parents. Why on earth does the weekend only have two days? For an instant today, I wanted to go back in time and find the guy who decided it should just be two. If I had a time machine, I'd give him a real talking to. Turns out, it was Henry Ford.

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As the story goes, he wanted to sell more cars and attract and retain his workers. To sell more cars, he needed people to have more time to drive. And his employees were among his best customers. And to attract and retain staff, he offered better wages, better working hours and the glory of the weekend.

So now I am off my high horse and starting to think about innovation. One hundred years ago, here is a man doing something radical to improve the conditions for his business. And here we are today, still doing that same old thing.

For parents, the weekends are short. They are days filled with a different kind of work.

In  my house, there is laundry, house cleaning, yard work, oil changes and little handyman projects, shuttling the kids to activities, cooking and cleaning up from cooking, baths, dirty diapers, grocery shopping and the responsibilities that come with your extended family.

And then there's the fantasy of the date night, exercising by yourself or having some fun.

It's no wonder that people feel overwhelmed with their work and family priorities. The weekend is just your other full-time job.

Turns out you owe it to yourself to turn that fantasy weekend into a reality. First of all, you deserve a meaningful life. But, putting that aside, it will also give you the rest and resilience to carry on and be the rock start that you are through the long weeks of the year.

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There have been times in my career where work has been physically taxing. Spending long days in meetings and in sedentary positions in front of a computer trying to get the job done. Pain in my wrist from too much mousing. A locked jaw from clenching my teeth, a crook in my neck and a stiff shoulder. And oh yeah, losing 30 per cent of my hair from stress.

And so yes, there have been times in my career that were also mentally exhausting. Spending hours thinking through problems to try and crack the case. Thinking about work in the shower, while I drive, when I lay down in bed. Not being present in all the beautiful moments of my life.

And there have also been times in my career that were emotionally taxing. When what I was asked to do was outside what I was willing to do as a human. Times that made me cry because what I believed about the fight of good over evil wasn't true. Times when I realized that being a young woman was more than just a factor at work, it was a giant brick wall, triple-reinforced to prevent me from achieving the work I was assigned.

All of this crushes us, one little day at a time. But for the weekend. It can help to keep us whole. Especially if we have little people in our lives who have the power to bring us back.

I always know when I am on the mend when I find myself laughing at my children again. Because they really are so funny. That first laugh is a reminder that I have gone too deep down the rabbit hole on a work problem again. Time to re-calibrate.

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So career adventurers, do the long weekend right. Clear your body, your mind and your heart of the memory of work. Free yourself to focus on the parts of your life that bring you happiness and contentment.

Here are some ideas to help you break out of your routine:

  • Have a dance party in your living room
  • Sing really loud in your shower today
  • Take an extra-long, super indulgent nap
  • Watch a movie that you loved as a child with your kids
  • Read your favourite book
  • Invite some friends over and laugh
  • Eat a big brunch with mimosas

The long weekend is here for a good time, not a long time. So live it.

Much love,

Donna


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