No one likes being burnt-out and exhausted.
Nor does anyone want to hang out with someone who is burnt-out and exhausted.
Human beings were not created to thrive in an endless cycle of working and getting “caught up” on work.
If “weekending” is no longer possible, why not “Walden” instead?
“Walden” (the noun) is both a pond in Massachusetts and the brainchild of Henry David Thoreau. Walden, a book of essays, details Thoreau’s thoughts and opinions on life, politics and philosophy. Thoreau penned Walden while spending two years living next to Walden pond doing absolutely nothing. Besides living creatively, rather.
While sitting around in the woods for two years is unrealistic for most of us (if you have 730 days you can fill staring at a pond, by all means, do it), you can apply the main principle behind “waldening” (the verb) into your own life as a way to recharge.
How do I “Walden?”
1. Pick a day, any day. Prepare to totally disconnect from the rest of the world. This sounds harsh, but part of waldening is being alone with your thoughts. Turn off your phone, don’t check your email, and let yourself fall off the map for 24 hours. Extroverts out there, it is possible. I promise.
2. Pick a spot. Go somewhere comfortable; where you will feel inspired. Maybe it’s overlooking a pond or lake, a favorite trailhead, a coffee shop, the middle of a soccer field or a lawn chair next to a train track, just “get away.”
3. Reflect, refresh, repeat. When’s the last time you had time to think? About your life? About people? About the past year? Spend some time collecting your thoughts, then do something you enjoy, purely for enjoyment. Sketch what you see. Write a journal entry. Juggle a soccer ball or take photos of the tracks. Now is the time to do all the things you’d love to spend everyday doing, but just can’t.
And then, do it again. Take a “Walden Day” once a month, once a season, once a year. Or take a “Walden Hour” once a week, or biweekly. Employees of Indianapolis-based marketing agency Smallbox take one week every six months for a “creative sabbatical,” or, the Ultimate Walden.
Are your weekends extinct? Where's your "Walden?"