Saturday, 26 November 2016

The key to Monday happiness, the weekend!

A lot of times, Monday mornings are the worst days that most professionals go through in their working week. How did the weekend leave us so fast? There was so much I had to do! How did I not manage to see my family? All these questions, feelings of regret and unease at the week ahead. This unease doesn't get easier for teachers, who may be planning lessons over the weekend and doing more work on top of their already full on job itself. Marking is a bane of a teacher's life, but I will address this in a separate blog post.

So where are we at now? It's a Saturday evening and I am sat here feeling content in the fact I have done the majority of the stuff I wanted to do over the weekend, and all done without a hangover. As I referred to in a previous post regarding work life balance (Post), the key to success for the weekend is how you prepare yourself for the week ahead and properly relax in time for that Monday morning alarm clock!

I was desperate to do a few things before this weekend was over, these things were to update this blog, contact my parents, get my haircut and also do something lavish for myself, I've done those things and it's not even 6pm on Saturday, it means I can relax a bit more until tomorrow where I will look over my lessons in preparation for the next week. I don't feel unhappy or stressed at the thought of planning my lessons, I accept that they will get done and I am content that I am prepared for the work that this will ensue.

One of my biggest tips is sleep, make sure you catch up on any sleep and prepare yourself for your morning routine this week. Sleep also greatly increases our active thinking, affects how positive we feel and how likely we are to perceive stress at different times. The way to do this is to ensure you don't set yourself an alarm over the weekend. If you do have to get up at a certain time, then go to bed 8 hours prior. Our bodies sleep in cycles of 1.5 hours at a time, in those intervals, we are at our lightest stage of sleep, so for you maths people out there every 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5 and 9 hours your body would naturally wake up if slightly disturbed, it's also why you may feel really groggy if you wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle. One application I would recommend attempts to find your body's natural rhythm and wake you up when you are at your lightest stage, search "sleep cycle" in the application store on your phone for options and see if you find any success with them. There is sense to the principle that you can wake up on the wrong side of the bed!

It's very easy to stress too much about different things we have to get done, I've tried a new practice, I plan out my week on a Sunday evening. This plan has all my commitments, plans for when I am going to exercise, write my blog, work, see my parents and other commitments (including writing my best man's speech for my friends wedding). I start by writing down everything I need to cover in the next week (pay this bill, see this friend, book tickets etc), then I order the things I need to do in priority. I prioritise my most important things, such as family, friends, blog and exercise. I then try to fit that around work as much as possible. I know that we all need downtime, that's timetabled too in my week and at the weekend. Getting into a positive habit and routine takes a lot of the mental strain out of preparing yourself for the week. I don't worry about my lessons for the week now, I've planned time on Sunday evening to peruse my plans for the week. Mention in the comments if you would like me to expand on this topic. Try it for yourself!

I also love to see my parents every weekend, without fail. They only live in the same town as me but I feel it's important to connect with those closest to you, as mentioned in my previous blog post, family and relationships are paramount in helping you feel de-stressed, relaxed and generally all-together in preparation for your week ahead. It's funny when I was with my parents this weekend, we sat and watched some old family movies. My dad said to me "Life was easier then wasn't it" as I watched one year old me blow out the candles on my Humpty Dumpty birthday cake. Yes dad, it was, but in that moment nothing else crossed my mind other than how much I valued my family, it was great.

Just make sure you leave enough time to wash your clothes for Monday! Happy weekend everybody!

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