Most people working a standard Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 job will say that they prefer Saturdays. A common reason is that Saturdays begin after a fun or relaxing Friday night and a bit of a sleep in. Then, you can do whatever you want for the whole day, even if it means staying up late as you have another day to rest.
On the other hand, Sundays start with a relaxing morning, but followed by the stressful thought of having to return to work on the dreaded Monday.
Simply put, Saturday feels better than Sunday because we don’t have a Monday hanging over our heads. But why should this be the case?
Technically speaking, both Saturday and Sunday are days of rest. Sure, the night ends earlier on Sunday as we need to wake up early for work, but the rest of the day should be equally free and relaxing as a Saturday.
What keeps us from enjoying Sunday is our dread and anxiety for the next day. Because we stress about tomorrow, we fail to enjoy today.
When we focus on the present rather than the future, we can truly enjoy the precious hours of rest amongst the business of our lives. Don’t count the hours till you return to work. Instead, just enjoy the fact that you are not working right now.
If you change your perspective, every day can be a weekend.
Taking time off to do something fun when you can’t afford to.
This is most relevant to my life right now with my O&G OSCE (clinical examinations) on Friday, short cases (biggest clinical exam of med school) next Tuesday and two gigantic exams (testing us on literally everything we learnt in med school) the week after that all crashing down at once. The sheer pressure of all of this is really pushing all of us (5th year med students) to a point of anxiety, depression and insanity, and without some way to relieve that stress somewhere, we’d probably end up jumping off somewhere tall or go on a shooting spree.
I personally believe human beings feel the happiest when they are enjoying a luxury they cannot afford. For example, having a nice dinner out once in a while even though your budget is straining. The same applies to time. No matter how busy life gets, just stop what you’re doing and take some time for yourself. Whether it be spending a couple hours having lunch with a friend, playing card games for half an hour, or singing a song on your guitar for ten minutes. Hell, go to the park and lay on the grass for even five minutes, doing nothing but staring into the blue, blue sky. Trust me, it will make a huge difference to your mental health and work productivity.
Here’s an analogy from an old ARK post:
There are two clocks: a still clock and a clock that is always a minute late.
Which clock is more accurate?
The answer is the still clock – it tells the correct time twice every day, but the other clock is always wrong despite the fact that it constantly ticks.
Sometimes when life gets you down, it is better to stop and rest instead of trudging on forever, always out of sync.
I kinda mentioned this in a previous post, but that was more in the context of taking a break. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE doing stuff. Especially right now where all I can think of is all the stuff I’m waiting to do as soon as exams are over. But there’s a real simple joy in doing absolutely nothing. Just…sitting there, you know?
Of course I don’t mean literally nothing where you switch off your brain. That’s what you do when you watch TV (which I heartily endorse). But I mean putting down the book you’re reading or pausing that video, sitting back and getting lost in your thoughts. Maybe you’ll ponder the deep philosophies of what it means to be alive, or create an imaginary world you can adventure in.
If you don’t feel like exploring the inner workings of your mind, then get lost in your surroundings. Have you ever really taken into account what you see, hear, smell, taste and touch? Bernard Werber talked about a relaxation technique called “Opening your senses” in his books, which involves you systematically saying out loud everything you experience in the moment with each sense. For example, close your eyes and say everything you hear, to the smallest detail. Then do the same with all your other senses, you’ll notice that you’ve been missing out a lot of things in this world.
Sherlock Holmes stated that there is a great difference between seeing and observing. Try this out sometime. Have a cup of coffee at a cafe by yourself and look around you. You might see a boy and a girl making idle chit chat, but you might observe the two showing various subtle body language signs of mutual attraction. See if you can figure out a person’s job or personality or health condition just from observation. People-watching can be very fun, as long as you’re not being…you know, creepy.
So go on, drop what you’re doing, go lie in a patch of grass or sit at a cafe or wherever and just do nothing.
A “good fortune teller” is not an “accurate” fortune teller. A “good fortune teller” is a fortune teller who “says good things”. A fortune teller who tells fortunes that are too real, despite warning people of the dangers to come in the future, tends to be ignored and hated on just like Cassandrafrom ancient Greek mythology. Human beings say they fear uncertainty in the future and want some certainty, but they do not want to hear about an unhappy future. This is a normal response. Who would want to hear that they will soon be diagnosed with a terminal illness, or that they will break up with their lover? However, people are fascinating in that they still try to know the future. We go to fortune tellers and read horoscopes to try figure out what will happen to us. But if they receive bad news such as “you will fail your next exam”, instead of studying even more they curse at the fortune teller for giving them a bad prediction. Thus, human beings live among curiosity about their life and fear of the unknown future, while celebrating good fortunes and actively denying bad ones.
The reason why we like to have our fortunes read is similar to why we watch previews of television shows: we are curious about what will happen. But if you ponder this deeply, you soon come to a great epiphany. The further you look out into the future, the clearer this becomes. Everyone eventually dies. A person’s life span is typically not much longer than a hundred years, with everyone meeting the same fate some day.
A fortune teller predicts the ups and downs of a person’s life. If you think about it, life is composed of a series of peaks and troughs that eventually result in death. No matter what misfortune comes your way, it will pass just as seasons come and go. A person who passed an exam is happy and leads a good life, but even if the person fails, they somehow make it through. Unless you give up, a person will continue to live on. C’est la vie. Life is as simple as that.
If the best fortune teller in the history of mankind told your fortune, they would say the following: “nothing matters, live the way you want”. Whether your fortune for the week is good or bad, you will eventually die. There is no point scaring yourself with fortunes, live every day as if it was your last. An uncertain future may be scary, but it also represents infinite possibilities. Just like Schrödinger’s cat, our tomorrows are both alive and dead at the same time. Until tomorrow comes and the box is open, we can never know what the future holds.
So as long as it does not harm you or anyone else, do whatever the hell you want.
Everyone goes through a tough time at least once in their lives. As modern life is ideal for stress to build, it is easy to get weighed down by fatigue and negativity. Pent-up stress is the cause of all ill health and one cannot lead a healthy life without overcoming their stress. Although everyone has a unique method of overcoming stress, there are some very effective generic methods of stress relief. Some examples include hobbies, laughter yoga and meditation, but the method that will be introduced here is progressive muscle relaxation, or PMR. PMR is very simple and doesn’t take up much time, making it a useful way of relieving stress for busy people.
Sit back comfortably, close your eyes and rid yourself of all thoughts.
Breathe in slowly and deeply and then breathe out. Concentrate on your breathing.
Relax all the muscles in your body into a jelly-like state.
Squeeze both hands into a fist as hard as possible for 5 seconds, then release.
Rest 5 seconds and then repeat twice more.
After three cycles of contraction and relaxation, repeat with your arm muscles.
Apply the same three cycles on your feet, legs, abdomen, chest, neck and head.
The key principle of PMR is achieving complete relaxation by concentrating all your energy into one spot then releasing it. Furthermore, concentrating on your slow breathing has a meditation effect, resting both your mind and body. Once you are relaxed from head to toe, you will feel all the fatigue in your body disappear. There is no greater enemy than stress. Therefore, it is best to have your own defence mechanism against it, but it also very useful to know a few general methods.
Now, try the progressive muscle relaxation on yourself to resolve all the stress that accumulated over the day.