"You know what I hate about Friday? It's two days closer to Monday."
I was a bit taken aback by my friend's comment. It was hard for me to imagine somebody dreading the beginning of next week when this week wasn't even over yet. But even more worrisome for me was what she was saying about how she spent her weekend.
Most of us aren't real excited about beginning our workweek. And when we start to resent it too much, we may need to take a good look at our job choice. If we fail to use our weekends well, however, we may wind up blaming our job for a problem that really has its roots in what we do when we're off the job.
Researchers who have looked at lifestyle and stress point out that we all experience ups and downs in our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy. None of us run at full power all the time.
Furthermore, it seems the harder and longer we work, the more quickly we deplete our energy. When our energy level gets low enough, to stay healthy we need to find a way to recharge our batteries.
As our jobs (and being a homemaker counts as time and a half) regularly deplete our energy, you would think we'd schedule regular time for battery charging. That's just common sense. What is senseless is the way most of us ignore this need.
Rather than take some of our time off for relaxation and "recreation" we often continue our energy drain right through our weekend. We work a second job, or we write down a list of "things to do" that we couldn't do in a month of days off. Or perhaps we pack in so much recreation -- movies, ball games, garage sales -- into our time that it becomes a job just to have that much fun.
It's not surprising that when we return to work we feel like we never left. Instead of starting our week with our batteries charged, they're more run down than when we ended the previous week.
There's a long-term cost for such a lifestyle, too. We become chronically tired and susceptible to all sorts of ailments -- viruses, hypertension, ulcers, colitis. And it's just a matter of time before we suffer the sort of physical consequences that we never recover from.
Granted that sooner or later we all must deal with illness and death; let's not make things any harder than they already are. And those are just the physical costs. We also pay a heavy emotional, relational, and spiritual toll for our nonstop pace.
Time off -- whether it's on the weekend or in midweek -- needs to include at least some real time off; time that is free of the pressures of plans, limits, schedules, demands. It is not important whether we spend the time taking a stroll, sitting on the front porch, reading a trashy novel, watching a TV sitcom, or just daydreaming. What is important is that we allow ourselves to relax.
That's what weekends are all about. When it comes to priorities, relaxation needs to be among the top. It's a matter of health: physical, emotional, relational, spiritual. After all, even God rested on the weekend.