You come home stressed out and tired from the work week and your commute home, but there is no rest yet. You have to cook dinner, clean up some of the mess you didn’t get to last night and then take the kids to their lessons or head out to a friend’s place. So by 8pm your even more tired and just a little grumpy since you haven’t even started to relax yet. If this sounds a little like your Friday night, you need to make some changes to be happier and save some money.
Save money? Yes, just think for the minute about the amount of money you spend on all those entertainments and distractions in your life: dinners out, drinks, movies, TV, books, computer games….the list just goes on and on. Not to mention the money we spend on drugs and health care problems that all go back to we are too stressed. The truth of the matter is you won’t need a lot of that if you had the start to a better weekend and controlled your stress level.
What is the solution? You need to book out some decompression time right after work. Going from full speed during your workday into full speed into your weekend isn’t healthy for you (since your body keeps thinking its in stressed state). You need some time, not even that much, to shift gears and enter your weekend in a more relaxed state. Then you can really start to enjoy your weekend.
In my house I typically come home and do a few different things to help me shift from full speed work to slower speed at home. I first get a snack if I’m starving (since as my wife will tell you I’m a bear when I’m hungry) and then I go upstairs and change clothes. Do I need a new outfit? No, but I do it to help separate my work day from my home life. Then I take perhaps 10 to 15 minutes to either read some blogs on Ipod Touch or a book in the bedroom by myself. I love my family, but I just need a little time to myself to relax before I place myself in the middle of the supper rush. The total cost of this routine is some gas to get to the library once a week for a book and a few extra groceries.
At that point I’ve decompressed enough that I can handle helping with supper or playing peace maker with the kids. Then I pour a glass of wine for my wife and I and we can both relax a bit more during supper (providing the kids are being good). Then the rest of the evening can happen and I don’t feel stressed out anymore. Now that is my method of decompressing after work on a Friday. Your method might be completely different, but it is important to have some method of downshifting from that stressed out state.
Stress management is one of those grossly under estimated items in our lives that can save you a fortune in other costs. Do you shop when you are stressed or perhaps you get something to eat out? We tell ourselves its ok to have a little treat or a pick me up: because we had just a hard week and we deserve it. All of that can be avoided with some simple stress management (ideally every evening), but especially on Friday before the weekend. Why before the weekend? Basically you are much more likely to do your shopping at that point and if you were stressed out you are much more likely to impulse buy.
So your mission for tonight is simple: book some time for yourself to decompress regardless if it takes a half an hour soak in a tub or prepare a small snack before supper to push off cooking for an extra 15 minutes. Whatever you can come up with that doesn’t cost a lot and helps you downshift from your week. You will feel better and likely also spend less.
So how do decompress at the end of the week? Or do you notice what you buy when you are stressed?