My husband started it! Early in our retirement, he threw down the gauntlet and wanted us to preserve defined weekends. I pouted…just a little bit…okay, a lot! For years I had been totally sold on the concept that during retirement every day would be Saturday (or Sunday). To me, it was now like saying there should be no Santa or no Tooth Fairy! Why wouldn’t we want every day to be Saturday?
During the first two months of our retirement, we were fully immersed in intense house renovations (insane, I know – but it was cathartic and served as a great transition from work). At Richard’s lead, we did the renovations on Monday to Friday and took the weekends ‘off’.
With the renovations behind us, we have continued that schedule. As best as we can, we now try to make the weekends special and confine more mundane tasks and our ‘to do lists’ to the weekdays. In this way, we not only have defined weekends, we also have a weekly escape from household chores and other drudgery.
My husband just may have been on to something. In a study on ‘the weekend effect’, led by Richard Ryan at The University of Rochester, (January 2010) researchers tracked the mental moods and physical symptoms of working adults during both weekdays and weekends. Not surprisingly, participants indicated being happier during the weekend with less physical complaints. “Weekends were associated with elevated feelings of freedom and closeness — participants said they were more often involved in activities of their own choosing and spending time with close friends and family members. People also felt more competent during the weekend than they did at work” (source). Even those who worked on weekends reported feeling happier on Saturday and Sunday. For this latter group, researchers suggested that it was probably because “cool events tend to happen on the weekend.” They also proposed that there was a likely social contagion effect, i.e. when other people are happy around you, you become happier yourself (source).
Live Science (February 2008) reported on another interesting study that found that weekdays often bring heavier rain than weekends. “Summertime storms in the southeastern United States shed more rainfall midweek than on weekends….The cause could be the air pollution created by the daily grind—traffic and business operations….The clearest day of the week was Saturday, with nearly twice the rainfall on the wettest day, Tuesday afternoon (source).
Could the ‘weekend effect’ also apply to retirees? Ryan’s study did not look at non-working adults, or at adults over the age of 62. However, it makes sense that special Saturday/Sunday events, weekend visits with working friends/family members, social-contagion, less rain, as well as old habits dying hard, could have a positive impact on a retiree’s weekend.
I began this post at the beginning of May (when weekend farmers’ markets/special events were beginning to step up in our area), and I once again experienced the “twin blog phenomenon”. To get more details for my post, I increased my on-line search for “retirement-everyday-weekend” and came across a blog post, Every day is Weekend In Early Retirement? by Mr.Firestation. That post was written just one day before my search. Seriously, how does this happen? I had never previously come across this blog, or this blogger. Regardless, Mr. Firestation and I had both been working on the same blog topic at the same time (and I discovered that many bloggers that I follow, follow his blog). I put my draft away for a while and wrote on other matters. Then, after a particularly fun and rejuvenating long weekend, I pulled out this draft once again.
It is true. Even in retirement weekends are significant. They cause an increase in special events, outdoor community activities, and a mixture of age groups out and about (or, in respect for our recent Canada Day, “oot and aboot”). Used wisely, weekends can also provide a break from tasks and chores (which sadly do not disappear in retirement).
In response to the question “is every day the weekend in retirement”? Mr. Firestation sat firmly on the fence and concluded both “yes and no.” His reasoning was that for most retirees, weekdays are more relaxed than when they were working. Conversely, he also argued that weekends are even more special as retirees can avoid scheduling chores during that time, giving them even more time to take part in special events with friends and family. (source)
I totally agree with Mr. Firestation’s conclusion, and in the process, I have found a great new blog to follow.
Once again the weekend is near…bring it on!
Feature Photo: Cedar Sunday Market, Vancouver Island, BC.