Do You Live (and Love) Your Life 7 Days a Week?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
"2 hours down, 6 to go until quittin' time."

"I can't wait for the weekend. Could Friday hurry up and get here?"

"Staring at the clock, waiting for the weekend."

Without a doubt, most of us are working for the weekend. We're all guilty of clock-watching at least some days, and we've all wished that days would speed by. But if you're constantly miserable during the week and only living for the weekend, have you ever considered how much life you're missing?

Consider this:

The average American lives to 78.4, according to the World Bank. We spend, let's say, 17 years in school, then about 45 years working.

That leaves about 16 years where we're presumably free to do as we please seven days a week, and for many of us, those years come when we're either too young or too old to appreciate them. (Though I'm a firm believer in age just being a number!)

Those years of five days a week spent working and in school represent about 56% of our total days on Earth. Do you really want to wish more than half of your life away?

I challenge you to find joy in the mundane activities of daily life. Seek pleasure every weekday. Spread happiness an extra five days a week, in addition to anticipating your fun-filled weekends.

These goals aren't as lofty as they seem. While it's no secret that these days I love my job, that wasn't always the case. In my former life as both an employee and a student, I felt a pit in my stomach on Sunday nights, felt time slow down as I waited for Friday afternoon to pass by, felt anxiety as I battled traffic each morning.

I was stressed. I was tired. And I frequently was miserable during the week.

Stress isn't what ails us, but rather it's a symptom of something else. It's a sign that we're trying to evade the here-and-now for the what-might-be or what-once-was. Eckhart Tolle explained this to National Public Radio's Christa Tippett:

MR. TOLLE: And then that takes your attention into your inner space, into your emotional field, and into your mind. Is my mind denying the present moment? Am I in a state of stress? What is stress? Stress is normal in our civilization but really basically what it means is you would rather be somewhere else. [Laughter] Stress means you want to be in the next moment or you want already to be finished with what you're doing while you're still doing it. You would rather be finished with it. Or while you're traveling towards someplace you'd rather already be there.


MR. TOLLE: But you're not. And stress is so normal that everybody accepts that, OK, if you're successful in life then you must be under stress.

MS. TIPPETT: Right. But I think counterintuitively I think you're saying you lean in rather than wishing it away.

MR. TOLLE: Yes. It's by becoming friendly with the present moment, what's my relationship, is the present moment my friend or my enemy? Another little pointer. And it's a strange question, but if you look very closely, you'd find that very often you make the present moment into virtually an enemy. Or it becomes an obstacle.

MS. TIPPETT: And you're saying that we do have the power. Whatever is enclosed in that moment, we have the power not to define it as an obstacle. And that's going to change the way we approach it.

MR. TOLLE: Yes. The first thing is the realization of what you're doing. In other words, one could say see the madness in yourself. And that's not a bad thing; it's a great thing, because that is not something to be depressed about. That means that you are awakening. And that which is awakening is the awareness behind the thinking.

We have no choice but to experience each and every moment of life. We could anesthetize ourselves using various drugs or drinks, but that's an entirely different topic. We are here physically regardless of how we feel mentally, but what would happen if we tried to synch our mind and body? If we tried to be really present and find small moments of happiness throughout the work or school day?

When I was most stressed, I had a few tactics, some of them healthier than others. Using the same techniques you apply to your weight-loss and healthy living program (Fast Breaks, SparkStreaks, 10-minute bursts, etc.), you can improve your overall quality of life during the work or school day and in the evening.

  • Take a walk. No headphones, no phone, no company. Just walk. Breathe in the fresh air, feel the bright sun on your face, listen to the sounds around you. Pay attention to each and every step. Notice the rhythm of your steps, hear your breath, feel your heart beat. Whether you're walking around the parking lot, around the block, or around the city, take those few moments just for yourself.

  • Treat yourself for a job well done. Each and every day, we all have to do tasks we abhor: scrubbing the bathtub, dealing with rude customer, filing paperwork, driving carpool, writing reports. Loathesome as they are, they're necessary, and as with all things in life, we have to take the good with the bad. No one is going to reward you for just doing your job, but you can reward yourself for buckling down and getting things done. Whether it's a single piece of your favorite candy, a two-minute footrub or stretch session, or a favorite song played on repeat, reward yourself for getting through boring or difficult tasks.

  • Refuse to commiserate. Bad moods are contagious. It's easy to get caught up in office politics, gossip, and kvetching. Every office has a complainer, a busybody, a tattletale. Though it's easier said than done, removing yourself from such conversations and committing to only positive dialogues will help you feel more optimistic.

  • Walk through the door with a smile. Regardless of what awaits you--hungry kids, a crabby partner, a dog that's dying to go out--you'll feel more mentally prepared to tackle it if you pause, smile and open the door.

  • Take a lesson from your pets. Treat your loved ones like you treat your pets. If you tend to argue with your partner or kids when you get home from work, take a tip from this New York Times blog post from Tara Parker-Pope. "Even on bad days, we greet our pets with a happy, animated hello, and usually a pat on the head or a hug," suggests clinical psychologist Suzanne B. Phillips of Long Island University, in Pope's blog. "Do you greet your spouse that way?" Strange, but it works!

  • Take 10 minutes for yourself. Homework needs to be checked. Dishes need to be cleared from the table. Laundry needs to be folded. Those tasks will all seem more do-able if you're rested and clear-minded. Set a timer and do whatever you want for 10 minutes. Read a book. Listen to music. Watch part of a TV show.

  • Ask for help. Make cleaning up a family affair. My boyfriend and I put on music as we clean the kitchen each night, a task we both dread. Instead of trying to weasel out of the task (or bribe the other one to do it--"I'll do three loads of laundry this week if you clean the entire kitchen alone tonight"), now we make it a joint effort. Do the same thing with your kids and partner. Share the load, and it'll be more fun.

  • Find peace in menial tasks. Watering the garden is one of the most boring tasks for me. However, I know my tomatoes need the extra H20. Now, when I venture to the garden at sunset, I use the time to breathe deeply, examine the plants, and watch the night arrive.

  • Think of your commute as "me" time. Yes, driving in heavy traffic is stressful. But if you're going to be stuck in the car, make use of your time. Make yourself a mix CD, borrow audiobooks from the library and consider learning a new language. Chances are, those 20, 30, or 60 minutes you drive to work are your only alone time all day. It's not ideal to be trapped in a car in gridlock, but at least you have music. Keep healthy snacks on hand for those nights when your stomach just won't stop growling.

  • Consider public transit. I rode the bus for two years and called it "the poor woman's limousine" because I could read for 20 minutes before someone dropped me off just around the corner from my office. No warming up the car, no getting annoyed by other drivers, and no fighting for a parking space. Just me, my book, some headphones, and 20 minutes to decompress before arriving at the office.

  • Pick a mantra--and repeat it. My mantra changes based on the situation, but I have two that are great for hard or long days: "Lead with your heart, and the rest of you will follow," becomes "Lead with your heart" when my patience is challenged. "I can't change the world, but I can change myself," becomes "I can't change the world" for easier repetition when I've been slighted. (~INDYGIRL has some great ones! Find them here.) These positive affirmations can help you stay focused when you're stressed or upset.

  • Respect the lows. Life is full of highs and lows. The lows feel awful at the time, but it's important to remember that without them, the highs wouldn't feel as wonderful. Without life's bitterness, would we appreciate the sweet as much? By remembering that this bad day, this bout of the blues, this plateau, will pass, you'll be able to stay focused on the journey ahead.

  • Reach out. Pick up the phone, send an email, post on the Message Boards, or walk over to a co-worker's desk. Get a hug from your kids or partner. Human contact, whether real or virtual, can be a huge stress reliever. Now and when I was down in the dumps in my old life, a mid-week walk or glass of wine with friends did wonders to propel me through the week.
Down the road, you can change your life and find larger, more permanent ways to inject happiness into your life. For now, isn't it better to try to find small moments of happiness? Changing your mindset from merely existing to really living isn't easy, but once you do, you'll be surprised at how contagious your positive attitude can be.

Are you one who lives only for the weekends, or do you try to find joy in life seven days a week? Is this possible for everyone? What are some ways you find happiness during the work or school week?

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PLCHAPPELL 9/27/2019
I try. Report
MUSICNUT 8/11/2019
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
My commutes were always me time, alone in the car, no noisy music, just blissful silence and room to think my own thoughts. I can see the negative vibes about workplaces as valid, so many people get locked into a job not suited to them because they live in such a rural area there are few jobs, and let’s face it you don’t even get fed or a place to sleep if you don’t make money. Realistically sometimes it is just the only wa, I tried many times to move into a different job, but could never see the percentage in taking a job I liked only to not have the money to meet my basic needs. My comprise was to work nights to stay out of politics, and away from troublesome trolls, and to keep my distance and not to discuss my private life with other workers. Surface chatter suffices, people that don’t really know you don’t know how to press your triggers. Report
KHALIA2 5/8/2019
Great tips! Thanks! Report
RYCGIRL 3/12/2019
thanks Report
DRUMMERCHK 1/29/2019
Very important topic & well covered. Thanks for the reminders. Report
Thank you so much Report
Just what I needed to hear as I am going through a very painful time leaving me unable to exercise at Dr.'s orders I am to keep off my feet. Will get the time to deep dive into all aspects of meditation until I find a method that really speaks to me. Report
Guess I need to read this book and see if it's as hippy-dippy as some in various spiritual circles seem to see him as?? Not sure why the churches sometimes have a conflict with authors like Mr. Tolle.... Report
Thank you! Report
I tend to enjoy my work, which is a blessing. I learned to live much more in the present moment than I used to after listening to Mr. Tolle. This blog is an important reminder not to wish away our lives. Thank you. Report
After my fight with Cancer I live each day to the fullest. I now stop and smell the flowers and notice the beauty in everything and each person I meet. Thank you for this article. Report
Excellent blog! I try to not to wish my life away but have to be reminded from time to time. The tips here will greatly help. Report
Totally enjoy this article. Report
Great reminders to slow down and enjoy the journey! Though I like some others who've posted am not a subscriber to Tolle-Mania, this is good, practical, and spiritual advice. Thanks! Report
This, to me, is the Masterpiece of all blogs! Felt like I was reading a book. Thank goodness that I have a job that is enjoyable most of the time, and that I only work 4 days a week! (Monday thru Thursday) Report
Fantastic blog, Stepf. Best I've read in a long time. There are great practical tips in here. Eckhart Tolle changed my life and I'd recommend him to anyone. He has made the ancient never more relevant and contemporary. Report
Thanks for the reminder. I'm guilty of wishing my life away about half of the time. I find joy by sharing my mantra for the day with fellow "joy-seekers" at work. There aren't many of those. They remind me of the important things and take my mind, energy, and focus off the awful things. Report
Great advice. Thanks for sharing. Report
I am so very guilty of wishing my life away and it has been bothering me so this was right on time for me. Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring!!! Report
I think I need to start living and loving everyday no matter what. I am definitely going to use some of your tips. Thank you! Report
Awesome blog - thanks Stepfanie! :-) I'm going to try your mantras and see how I do!! Report
Good article; some very good points. Report
Good article, important to stop and reflect. Report
Thanks for this! I definitely have been living for the weekend, for the future, and not in the present. Reminds me to enjoy the little things where I can and right now. :) Report
I live for the weekend but will relook at that Report
thanks for this. i love flylady's housework blesses your family - that changed my attitude about all the stuff i just have to do everyday.

don't commiserate! i think i need to work harder on this. it just makes the work day longer. Report
I learned so much about living in the present from Eckhart Tolle. I appreciate this reminder, and the list of simple ways to make the present more pleasant, if needed. Report
Thank you for your blog. We need to be reminded to enjoy each an every moments we are given. Always thinking about what is coming next, deprives us the joy of the now. On a trip, the destination is not always the most important part of the trip, it is the journey there. Report
I am guilty of living for the weekend, and I have been reflecting on that lately... its sad that I'm almost wishing my life away... I need to step back and review my way of thinking... Report
Thanks so much for sharing this blog. Such a refreshing perspective on how to live our lives. Report
Thanks for this insightful blog! Great read and reminder! Report
As a single mom, my whole week is very hectic. I do enjoy my job and going home to my kids.

I'd love to say a BIG thank you for this article ( I guess I read it at the exact time). I was late for work today and seriously beating myself up; reading this article reminds me to learn from the mistake and let the pain go and enjoy my day anyhow. Thanks again Report
All good points! I have wished away days and embraced days... for today I choose to embrace. Report
I have been richly blessed to have an overall joyful love and celebration for all of life, whether it be at work or play. This positive attitude goes hand in hand with my faith journey. Report
YOur blog was very uplifting to me. Kudos Report
I've heard of this Tolle and it seems that he's merely paraphrasing some teachings of Buddhist sects. No matter, the present list is an excellent reminder, when we lose sight of the journey in reaching for the destination, of ways to find fulfillment in the mundane -- or, at least, manage it. (Is it my imagination, or does Oprah get off on extolling usurpers of principles and things we've always known? What was the flap about that "Secret" book? Why does the name "Eckhart Tolle" smack of "Werner Erhardt?" Sheesh. But I do have regard for Christa Tippett, so how am I to reconcile this? Do I have to read the Tolle book? Won't.) Report
Thank you for your blog and the reminder to find little spaces during the workday to take time for ourselves.

I really do like my job. I love the different tasks I perform and interacting with our patients. I'm grateful to have the work, especially in these economic times. However, it doesn't pay me enough to live on comfortably or supply me with benefits, so I also work from home in the evenings and some on weekends to try to stretch things out. I like that work, too, so in that way, I know I am blessed.

The problem is, that does not leave much time for me ~ for personal chores, errands, socializing, hobbies, all the things I would dearly love to do but which have to be squeezed into a few hours on the weekend.

So the problem for me isn't living in the "now" of my work, but rather that it takes so MUCH work to make ends meet that my life is out of balance. I wish I didn't have to work quite so much and that I could rise above that feeling that I need to rush to get everything done.

Yet here I am, stealing a quiet moment at work to jot a comment on a blog. Some days I can do that; others I can't. I just need to take advantage of the time as it presents itself and remember to be grateful. Report
I find that I can't wait for the work week to be over. Thanks for the good tips to make those days more fun. Report
I definitely live for the weekends. Currently, I work at a corporate job that I absolutely hate. A few months ago, I decided to take a long hard look at my life, and I decided to go back to school to get a degree in something I love. My life is extremely busy now, as I work full time and take evening classes; however, I know that I'm working towards something. Report
I agree with the driving and me time. There is nothing like a warm day, breeze flowing through the windown and a great tune on the radio. Good time to relax, sit back enjoy. It also takes away from the "Driving" chaos in the big City. Just relax. Take this time for yourself. Report
This moment, I am thankful for reading this blog. I am in the present. I am trying to think about what really makes me happy during the mundane days of the work week. I have come up with this: What makes my life meaningful everyday of the week is when I perform random acts of kindness. I find so much joy in doing these acts. I may never see the outcome of these acts, but imagining it brings a smile to my heart and a sense of joy to my life. Report
This is missing one very important stress reliever: giving to others. Whether it's money, skills, time, or a combination, interacting with "the less fortunate" helps me put my own woes and frustrations into perspective. It's a stress reliever and adds a little good to the world. Report
one thing that i have learnt from life is to give importance to your peace of mind.

i never miss out on a chance to relax or have some time to myself or do something that i would like. and i do think that just like a daily dose of 10 min of exercise does really effect your overall weight loss efforts(experienced it myself), giving yourself daily or even once in 2 3 days some time just for yourself no matter how(relax or do something you like) would surely benefit your mind AND your life.

thanks for the tips:) Report
Great article! Mr. Tolle's description of stress makes so much sense and easier to manage when thought of this way. Definitely simplifies recognizing where our stress is coming from so we can alleviate it. I always try to live in the moment and have done most of the things you have listed but now I can more clearly see the times that I don't. I especially like the part about taking a lesson from our pets. We should treat everyone like can turn a bad day around for us and for them. Report
Good Morning All
Shamelesshussy, If I may, I'd like to respectfully disagree with you. Eckhart by no means is an Oprah Book Club Guru. If you have read the book, and I hope you have to be qualified in making the statements you have made, then you must know that anything short of the NOW is just your Ego making a statement, Rearing it's ugly head and controlling you. Take back your NOW and You will control your Earth around you. Oprah didn't create this guru. But I thank her for making me aware of the books existence. Report
Hmmm. You kind of lost me at "Tolle." For someone who purports to believe in checking the ego at the door, his Madison Square Garden gig and the launch of "Tolle TV" (note: not "Now TV" or "Stressfree TV", but named after himself) does not inspire confidence. The aspects of his message people respond to are common sense; appreciate the little things, don't get too obsessed with the aspects of the future you can't control. Wow. Stop the presses! The fact that these and other simple outlooks have garnered nothing short of religious devotion to the man makes me extremely uncomfortable. I'll look for my "break-throughs" in things of substance, not the Oprah book club guru, thanks. Report
It's a REAL Eye Opener & Like Many of you, It makes me Realize I've Wasted a Big Portion of My 16 Leisure Years.

Wake up call, yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Karrie Report
Loved this article. I've bookmarked it -- I'm sure I'll be back to read it again and again. Thanks for your thoughts. Report
Yes, I am one of these individuals that live for the weekend only. The reason for this is because my husband and I have such different schedules that it is so hard for us to spend time with each other during the week. As a newlywed, I look forward to the weekends so we can get together. Report