The thing about weekends is that they are too short.
You know that song? The one I can’t hear without thinking about Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley in their Saturday Night Live Chippendale’s routine? "Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend." It’s kind of sad but it is true. Even though I really like what I do, even though I enjoy my job, I still look forward to a few days off–especially right after getting through a deadline.
I love waking up on a Saturday with that feeling of "I can do whatever I want." I can read, I can watch television, maybe finally start that show "The Wire" that everyone keeps talking about. I can go on a nice leisurely walk and take pictures of stuff, or of tourists taking pictures of stuff. I can go shopping with the intention of buying a nice new top at Target and walk out having spent $200 on random stuff I didn’t even realize I needed. I can work on my little projects. I can go have some drinks with my friends. But some weekends don’t really feel like a break at all. Some weekends are "go go go" and can end up feeling just as tiring as the work week. You have errands to run (some not fun at all), yard work to do, places to go, people to see.
So what’s the point if every day just seems like something for you to get through only to finally get to your weekend, if your weekend is basically just as stressful as your work week? It seems like everything gets so jammed-packed sometimes. Some people migh tell me, "that’s just life," and "you have to stick to a schedule." But I’m so not the type of person who does well with a perfectly-set schedule. I need breathing room. I am so not a type-A person, and when I feel like life is trying to turn me into one, I start feeling pretty stressed out. Especially when I’ve been on the go so much that when I actually stop to take a breath and chill for a little while, I start feeling like a lazy waste of oxygen since I’m not being productive. Or that I’m missing out on something.
And the thing about living in New Orleans is that there is always something to do, especially this time of year. There is always a festival to go to, always a band to see, always a really cool event to check out. Sometimes you just have to realize that you can’t do it all and still be a functioning member of society. You have to pace yourself.
My weekend was a lot of fun, but when I arrived at work on Monday morning I definitely didn’t feel revived or rejuvenated from my two days off. I felt drained. Tired. Totally zapped of energy. And I refuse to chalk it up to "getting old."
So I think it’s time to give myself a little reminder. Being stressed out and drained all the time can lead to some serious problems. Today it might not be too bad. But on down the road, if you’re always running on fumes, it can take a serious toll on your health and well-being. Seriously, stress can lead to illness if left unchecked, so it’s very important to take a step back every so often and assess. And here are some things I try to do when I feel this way:
1. Eat your veggies. I read somewhere once that "energy is not something you get, it’s a by-product of how you live your life." If I’m feeling drained, one of the first things I do is start making myself green smoothies every morning. My go-to green smoothie is basically a banana/strawberry combo with a few handfuls of spinach and a bit of bee pollen. You can’t taste the spinach and you get tons of nutrients and energy. I swear by green smoothies.
2. Read. Sometimes it’s awesome to escape from your own world every once in awhile and dive into another. Right now I’m in the middle of the "Song of Ice and Fire" series, by George R. R. Martin, the books on which the HBO show "Game of Thrones" (which so far has been amazing) is based. The series is totally awesome and addicting and I look forward to diving into it some more. I’ve also got a Sookie Stackhouse novel to catch up on. After all, I have to get my Eric Northman (book version) fix before the Eric Northman (TV version) shows up on "True Blood" in a few weeks (yes yes yes!).
3. Keep it simple. If you’re going to pack your weekend full of stuff, make sure it’s when there isn’t too much going on the day before or after so you can have some time to chill out a little. Case in point: I did too much over last weekend. On Friday night we went out to Frenchmen Street and hung out til the wee small hours of the morning. Saturday was spent in recovery and running errands for Sunday, and Sunday was spent tubing on the Northshore. The tubing experience was quite an adventure. It’s basically a day trip out to rural Louisiana, and it sounded like a lazy day of floating down a river. But what it turned out to be was me freaking out that I was going to run into alligator gars, which up until a few days ago I didn’t even know existed (and I’d like to thank my friends for all the awesome horror stories) or water moccasins, and also me using every untrained muscle in my body to paddle down a sluggish river (the wind was not in our favor) or dodging trees and brambles jetting out of the water. I woke up on Monday morning and I could barely move, my muscles hurt so much. The sunburn on my chest didn’t feel that great either. It was even worse when I got home from work. My dude looking at me with his quizzical brow that said, "When did you start walking around like like you were 95 years old?" So lesson learned: Don’t go tubing on a Sunday when you have to go to work the next day. It isn’t pretty. You need at least a day to recover from having that much fun.
4. Exercise. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so horrible after tubing if I was in actual good shape with actual muscles. I try to get out for a run or walk whenever I can, but sometimes I get too busy. Actually, that’s a bunch of bullshit. I have to make the time, carve it out of every day. I always feel amazing when I’m on a regular workout schedule. It gives me time to decompress and it gets some endorphins flowing.
5. Try not to think bad thoughts. I try to remember this:
Though some days are better than others.
6. Try something new. I’d been wanting to try out a new restaurant, so my dude took me out to Cowbell recently. They make awesome organic burgers with all of their own sauces (the homemade ketchup is amazing) and an emphasis on local ingredients. I got a burger with an egg on top. And not just any egg, but a "farm" egg. The super cool kind of egg. It was a pretty damn good burger. It was a pretty damn good night. It’s the little things.
7. Take naps. Self-explanatory. Naps are awesome. I really think that cultures who practice the siesta are totally onto something. They seem a lot more relaxed in general.
8. Take a freakin’ vacation. At the end of the day, I think I might just need a vacation. Everyone needs a vacay every once in awhile. A re-boot. I think I might head to a beach soon, and the only thing I’m going to do is read a few books in a beach chair while I listen to some waves. The sweetness of doing nothing. Yep, a Corona commercial.
I need a Corona commerical. The good thing about living in New Orleans is that there are great beaches just hours away. When I was living in Columbus, Ohio, just hours away would be Cleveland–definitely not a Corona commerical.
Read more of Annie at AnnieDeLaDolce.com.