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By Dr. Claire Muselman

Leave Weekends Alone: The Importance of Rest in a Healthy Work Culture

The lines between work and rest have blurred in today’s fast-paced work environment. But as Adam Grant eloquently put it, rest is not seen as slacking off in healthy cultures but as essential fuel for sustained energy and productivity.

My Journey to Understanding Rest

As someone who has navigated the pressures of overachievement and constant work, I have learned that non-stop effort leads to burnout. We often wear our busyness as a badge of honor, but at what cost? My history of broken bones and medical procedures is a testament to the toll that relentless striving can take on our bodies. I still think of it as an adventurous lifestyle… my orthopedic surgeons may disagree.

The Wake-Up Call

A pivotal moment came when my daughter, witnessing my stress, innocently asked if her friend could spend the night. I snapped at her with no rhyme or reason, and she did NOT deserve that tone; it had nothing to do with her and everything to do with me. It was a Saturday, and I was absorbed in work. This incident was a wake-up call about the example I was setting for her. It is vital to demonstrate that a successful career does not have to come at the expense of personal time and well-being.

The Illusion of Urgency

Many of us are guilty of checking emails during the weekend and responding to messages that seem urgent but are often not. This habit not only affects our mental health but also sets a precedent for our teams. We teach people how to treat us, and responding to non-urgent work communications during our downtime inadvertently creates an expectation of constant availability. Before you answer, think about the unintentional message you are sending before clicking send.

Leading by Example

As leaders, we have the power to change this narrative. We can choose when to check emails and how to perceive their urgency. It is crucial to be mindful of the impact of our actions on our team’s well-being. We can use tools like email scheduling to send messages during work hours, respecting our own time and that of our colleagues. Is it really that urgent? No, it is not.

Learning from a Wise Leader

I once worked under a leader who never sent emails during the evenings or weekends. His approach showed respect for his time and set an example for the rest of the team. This practice allowed for proper rest and recharging and cultivated a culture of care and self-care. His boundaries were a great ‘lead-by-example’ for the rest of the organization.

Self-Respect and Setting Boundaries

Respecting our time and setting boundaries is a form of self-care. It is essential to lead by example, demonstrating to our teams that rest is not only allowed but encouraged. Refraining from sending weekend emails helps create a healthier, more balanced work environment. It is also a fundamental way to be more productive with the time you set forth to work, being intentional with your time, and showing you are effective at time management.

Making a Conscious Choice

Let us all make a conscious choice to normalize not sending work-related emails over the weekend. This small change can significantly impact our mental health and overall well-being. By starting this practice, we achieve a healthier work-life balance and a more sustainable work culture. Only you can be the change in this arena. It all starts with you!

The Power of Rest

Embracing rest and setting boundaries is not just beneficial for our health; it is essential for our productivity and creativity. As we move forward, remember the importance of disconnecting, recharging, and setting an example for healthier work habits. And if you need a more significant reason, aside from your colleagues and organizations paying attention, your children are watching, too. *fur babies included.

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