What is a weekend? A question that almost everyone on the globe is right now asking. Now most of us have understood without days of slogging at work or school and having that very urge to cut down all the stress that was piled up during weekday–weekends are nothing but an extended sick leave.
Restrained to our homes and stripped of our daily routines, many in self-isolation have observed that time has become a strange and vague thing that can’t be defined by a calendar.
If you’re still lazying around in pyjamas with the TV and your work laptop on, does the time matters? If you’re still shuttling between work and kids who need snacks, does it matter what day of the week it is? What is a weekend? Is it even possible to have one in a lockdown world?
Something to look forward
One of the challenges of the current crisis is that most of our work or pre-planned schedules are in a muddle. Humans are creatures of habit, so having a regular plan for when we work and when we engage in leisure can help us reduce dilemma, especially in this already uncertain time.
Typically, our schedule is formulated for us by external forces: school works, office meetings and appointments and many other factors. Without those pre-defined schedules, people have to craft their creative ways to distinguish spare time from regular time.
Most of us are finding it hard to differentiate what to do during the office days while we have long forgotten about our weekends. For those with kids at home, lazy mornings on any day are often out of the question. However, due to quarantine, now everyone is at home; where homemakers once use to laze around the house after their spouse and children are sent to school, and office now seems like doing double shifts. Kids who don’t have anything particular during this quarantine can make or break your day.
Why do weekends matter? Unlike the 24-hour daily rotation of the Earth or its year-long journey around the Sun, the seven-day week is a purely social construct.
The two-day weekend was in part born from another economic crisis. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, several industries that hadn’t adopted the 40-hour workweek cut employee schedules back to five days a week, so that fewer working hours could be distributed among more people. By 1938, the 40-hour workweek was hallowed into law with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The possibility of this current crisis leading to long-standing changes is something we can’t deny.
Though the working hours per week has changed long back before the pandemic; however, the lockdown has enabled the employees to understand their own cycle of productivity, their breaks and own work routine.
‘Bring some routine back.’
How society will change its habits because of this crisis is yet to be witnessed. For individuals, though, establishing some structure to the day and week is a critical element to survive the uncertainty and anxiety of the coming weeks.
It is all upto you if you want to get things done, if nothing of that matters, then neither does the routine. If there is something which has to be completed, there is no option. We need structure in our day, and we know that without structure, people go crazy. Rates of depression and anxiety go up when there are low control and high expectations.
According to a study conducted in 2006, people having a job with little control over their working conditions, minimal social support and high psychological demands were more likely to have mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.
The current situation is worse than that. We are all stuck working at home, with less social life and are balancing the contemporary demands of work, family and home school amid a pandemic. There’s a lot that we can’t control. Maintaining daily structure and sense of time helps us focus on what we can.
It would be better if people can replicate what they use to do during their normal weekends, by being creative. Have you had a routine of spending weekends with friends? Then brush your cooking skill and ask your friends to join on group conference video call. Was Sunday morning the day for outdoor exercise? Then take your yoga mat or workout dress and do some simple workout in your balcony or terrace.
The idea is to find ways to replicate the habits we had previously as much as possible to bring some normalcy back to the odd circumstances we find ourselves in.
The content of your routine isn’t as relevant as the fact that you have one. The current crisis may be an opportunity to turn things around and create a schedule that fits your rhythms instead of an employer’s.
Since normality has gone out the window, why not replicate something from your routine to cling to.