When I was working fulltime, there was something about Fridays. After an intense week (which most of them were), I wanted to change it up on Fridays. It was great if I could take it off (a rare event) but if not I tried to keep my calendar open. I spent my Fridays dealing with loose ends from the week and planning for the upcoming week. I didn’t mind meetings or calls in the morning, but we all dreaded a long, and usually stressful, meeting in the afternoon that went until 5 PM. I would leave those meeting stressed, preoccupied, and knowing I had a 1 ½ hour commute ahead. It was even worse in the dark and rainy winter months. When I was in a position of authority, I tried to keep Fridays manageable for my staff.
In retirement, I still have a fair amount of structure to my days. I keep a calendar (appointments) and a ‘to do’ list (tasks, errands, chores), as do most of my no longer working fulltime friends (with a few notable exceptions). I took an informal poll of my friends to be sure I was in good company and I am. Many of us keep a list, either written or on our phones. It is much less structured than when we worked, but a list it is.
Here is a note from one of my friends about her ‘to do’ list:
Daily, written in a notebook!! A must, love it.JP
Now back to Fridays. I had a particularly stressful week recently. It involved two commutes to Seattle and one of those on a day that Vice President Harris was in town, making for particularly brutal traffic. We had 3 high stakes doctors’ appointments that all turned out well. That Thursday night I decided I was going to take Friday off – no appointments, tasks, or unnecessary chores and just focus on self-care.
I think ‘self- care’ sounds good but is an often overused ill defined term. I finally found a description that works for me:
Nurturing yourself is an important step towards feeling grateful……Focus on six categories: emotional (feel-good activities), practical (things like washing dishes), intellectual (challenging your mind), physical (stretching or a walk), spiritual (looking beyond yourself – e.g. time in nature or prayer), and social (connecting with people).Judy Ho, Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist
Dr. Ho doesn’t suggest you knock all 6 off on any given day, but to consciously include a self-care activity every day. I have unconsciously followed her advice for years, but it is easy to get in a rut. So, I would suggest changing them up on a regular basis.
Moving forward, I am going to try and keep my Fridays as unscheduled as possible and spend that time doing what I enjoy the most – spending time alone or with my husband, being with family or friends, reading, walking, going to a movie, meditating. My chores and tasks can wait – that is part of the joy and freedom of no longer having a set work schedule!
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