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Meditation and the science of weekend recover

By Elinor Svoboda | December 1, 2022

Everyone needs a day or two to unwind in a week, but how we spend that time might be more important that we realize. A recent article in Psychology today looks at the science behind Weekend Recovery and how we can use it to make a more sustainable work-life balance.

With 3 in 5 American workers experiencing work-related stress and burnout, the need for effective recovery can’t be understated. Living in a cycle of stress can lead to long term mental, emotional and physical issues. Weekends are key to breaking this cycle and new research shows that how we recover may not look the same for everyone.

Author Jeffrey Davis M.A. describes “Complimentary Recovery” as a key way to make your weekends work for you. Through this process he suggests looking at the specific demands that are placed on you during the week and finding weekend activities that can provide a complimentary balance. 

For example, if you work in a creative field or are bound to a computer, physical work or play might be especially rejuvenating. Conversely, if you have a physically demanding job, creative or intellectual pursuits might be the balancing point you need. The idea behind these studies is to look for a counterpoint that offers relief to the demands of your work. 

While the role of meditation is not discussed in this article, there is empirical scientific evidence that it can contribute to decreasing stress and potential burnout. Even 10-15 minutes a day can bring more calm and peace into your body and mind. Meditation can also provide Complimentary Recovery to support the demands of your work life. Here are a few ideas:

You work in a helping field: Does your work involve serving others? Are you a front line worker? Teacher? Therapist? Parent? Being available to others all week long can be draining no matter how good your boundaries are. Meditation helps you to build an inner world, a place to fill up your personal battery so you are charged to help others. 

You live on one side of your brain all week: Is your work hyper-focused? Do you work with Technology? Data? Finances? Meditation is a great way to get out of the linear mindset and into a feeling base modality. This can offer new ways of thinking and seeing the world, which can feel great and reduce stress. 

Interpersonal challenges at work: Unless you work alone, this can show up in any field! Humans are social animals and yet, we are all unique personality types that can bring a variety of dynamics to the table. You can’t always control who you work with, but you can control how you work with them. Meditation is an amazing way to reflect on your own behaviour and move out of a state of a reaction towards one of active choice. Connecting to a place of love and peace in meditation can give us the leverage we need to understand our own behaviours and make choices that will lead us to a healthier dynamic.

Work-life balance is essential if we want to have a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Consider how you can practice Complimentary Recovery through your weekend activities and integrating meditation to enhance your sense of peace, wellness and imagination.

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