When Your Mind Isn’t Up For “Rise and Grind”
It’s completely natural: some days, you feel fatigued and absolutely unmotivated at work. To make matters worse, you also feel guilty when taking a break, as you continue thinking about your pending tasks.
This guilt is tied to a glorified “hustle culture” – which prioritises earning money or gaining skills that contribute to your life goals, even during your free time.
Because of this, when asked what you do on days off, the answer is often that you had a “lazy day of doing nothing”. But chances are you’d spend the day doing things you enjoy, whether it’s rewatching comfort films, cooking your favourite meals, or perhaps even staying curled up on the sofa with a book.
Rather than associating these days with laziness, it could instead be a symptom of feeling burnt out.
Although achieving a healthy work-life balance and measures such as microbreaks have recently become more accepted, these alone aren’t sufficient in fixing burnout or coping with fatigue in the long term.
Shutting Off Your Work Brain
Picture this: it’s bedtime on a weekday night, you’re winding down for the night. Just as you settle in for sleep, your mind drifts to tomorrow – and, inevitably, the work that’s waiting for you.
While this might not negatively affect your sleeping pattern, it means your mind is unable to completely switch off even as you’re meant to be relaxing, since you’ll be mentally sifting through your to-do list.
Because of this, purposely scheduling lazy days to “do nothing” might just be a better way to ensure you get the mental rest you need.
Knowing you’ll get a whole day for your brain to break away from the daily grind can help prevent burnout. The longer period also means you can fully maximise your rest, unlike the small breaks taken on weekdays.
Medical studies have also backed up how taking time off is essential to boosting worker productivity, further emphasised in the Atlantic’s report on companies implementing four-day work weeks. So your lazy days could help you professionally – enabling you to focus and be more constructive when you return to work.
Fun aside, engaging in activities you genuinely enjoy on your days off also serves as a form of self-care by providing emotional sustenance and contentment.
Depending on your chosen activities, these could increase your serotonin and dopamine levels – the hormones responsible for happiness and satisfaction which also reduce anxiety and stress levels. If you’re looking for some tried-and-tested mood boosters for a quality “do nothing day”, here are some activities that have been proven to lift your spirits.
- Check up on and catch up with friends
This sounds simple, but carries a significant amount of emotional and mental benefits. The Fader details how friendships ignite the parts of our brains that make us feel good by investing our time in others’ wellbeing.
While social media has made reaching out easier than ever, commenting on someone’s post rarely measures up to actually talking to them in person or over a video call.
If you’ve not caught up with your friends for a while, now is the opportune time to check in on them or give them a call to see how they’re doing.
- Run a marathon – on your TV
For those who prefer staying in for valuable “me time”, you’re in luck. Psychreg shows how the immersion in a show or film we like is responsible for dopamine production, which increases your sense of satisfaction and pleasure.
On top of this, it’s a great way to keep your mind within a strict no-work zone, whether you opt to binge-watch your favourite series or start a new one that’s been on your to-watch list.
You could also make it better by getting some friends to join you for a movie marathon – complete with your favourite snacks. Alternatively, treat yourself to your comfort films or series while cosied up under the covers.
- Don’t lose out on snoozing
Since your rest day has been scheduled, it’s easier to ensure there are no urgent errands that require your attention.
Take this chance to sleep in and make your plan foolproof by turning off all morning alarms and drawing your curtains – particularly if your room faces the east. Finally, make it extra cosy with a relaxing bedtime routine and snuggling up under your duvet for a long, restful sleep.