Educators always work weekends. They simply have to in order to be ready for the week. I have always worked Sunday afternoons and evenings. I would also squeeze in reading and e-mail here and there throughout the weekend. This semester though, in keeping with my new perspective for 2017 (#enough), I have been focused on trying to truly “unplug” for a set period of time each week. I moved my Sunday work time to 5:30am, and that (in the words of the great Robert Frost) has made all the difference.
On Fridays, I leave campus at 3pm, and I resolve to check out from work (and really from the world in general, as much as possible) until 5:30 Sunday morning. It is my Friday gift to myself to say, I am going home to play with my son and eat pizza and watch Thomas the Tank Engine (my Netflix queue looks so foreign these days…). So far it has been working fairly well, although, I continue to check my e-mail after I get home. Perhaps I can set a 5pm cutoff on this activity, since it seems that I need some time to adjust to weekend mode (discovery through writing! Love it.).
The beauty of working before the crack of dawn on Sundays is that when I am done, I still have the rest of the day ahead of me to hang out with my little family. Having the set time of a 5:30am alarm clock feels much less stressful than the vague Sunday afternoon/evening timeline I had before (too often the day would get away from me, and I’d be headed into the dinner hour without having gotten any work done).
The period between 3pm on Friday and 5:30am on Sunday is just a bit over 36 hours (14 of which are spent sleeping), but I tell myself that it is enough. And it is, if I find a way to truly let go of all the external forces currently weighing on me. I’m also very gentle with myself and my family during these weekend hours. I don’t try to control every bit of food that we eat. I don’t get super neurotic about no screen time (we began Friday evening pizza and TV time shortly after Levi turned two, and it’s pretty fun as long as I don’t beat myself up for it). I don’t make myself go through the house like a whirling dervish before bed time. Sometimes it doesn’t always go well. I have to focus really hard on telling myself that everything is “enough” and that “all is as it should be.” I don’t really believe myself a lot of the time, but I fake it. And that too is enough to make me feel a tiny sense of this elusive thing people talk about: relaxation.