In any job, it’s easy to measure your happiness by the day’s proximity to the weekend.
Us teachers at Aviva know that this is especially true in a school. But what if that craving for two days of freedom was the one thing holding you back from seven days of happiness?
Here are 3 ways that you can instill the whole week with freedom and joy.
1) Use your breaks
When you’re on the clock, especially in a school, it’s easy to let work bleed into your off time. Whether it’s lunch or just the five minutes in between classes, you might find yourself eating a sandwich over a keyboard, or even worse, not taking time for yourself at all.
We get it. The more work you get done, the earlier you can leave, the more time you’ll have at home, the sooner you’ll be able to tick off another day, and the closer you are to the weekend. But, ironically, in your chase for freedom and enjoyment, you are only decreasing the amount of freedom and enjoyment that you experience.
Try finding a quiet place to have lunch or, even if others are around, just making a point of not doing work.
2) Incorporate mindfulness into your routine
Not too long ago, I wrote about the five reasons I wish I had incorporated mindfulness into my classroom from day one. The very first reason is that mindfulness and awareness allow teachers to overcome stress and enjoy teaching.
But this isn’t only for teachers. Accepting what’s happening right now without judgment is proven to increase feelings of joy and freedom. If you’re a teacher, try beginning each class period with a meditation exercise. Just a few minutes can make an incredible difference.
If you’re not a teacher, try just stopping to close your eyes and take three deep breaths every hour. The investment of this time will come back to you many times over. You will find yourself letting go of living in the future, enjoying the focused presence of each moment in your day.
3) Say no
Let me guess. You begin each day going through a mental checklist of what you need to get done that day. Your brain seems to take over during this time, negotiating, scheduling, fretting, reassuring.
Then you check your email. You see you now have more to add to your agenda of tasks. My advice? Try saying no to one new commitment every week. This is not an act of defiance, merely an act of self-love. And it doesn’t just have to be about work.
In fact, I wouldn’t recommend you say no to your boss when he or she assigns you a new task. Next time you are faced with a new commitment, ask yourself, “do I want to, or do I feel obligated to?” If it’s the latter, you may have found your no for the week.