The Long Weekend Hangover. That’s what I’ve decided to call it — not that headache and nausea and everything that might come from drinking too much at the beginning of a long weekend, or in the middle of it, or for the more courageous and iron-stomached of us, the end. No, I think the Long Weekend Hangover is that period of time in the day AFTER the weekend ends, when you’re back to work and you walk in to resume the routine and are just sort of . . .
And, like having a real, alcohol-induced hangover, you’re sorely tempted to call in sick to avoid the pain of dealing with life.
Yeah. I think you know what I’m talking about. For the most part, it’s purely psychological, with maybe some physical thrown in if you were particularly active (or more physically active than normal), or if you were like me and tried to make up for lost time by losing sleep on the extra day(s) off.
I noticed it among my students today. Rather than being hyper and glad to see each other, which is often the case after a holiday or maybe a shorter long weekend, or even a snow day, they were subdued. For a while, some of the individuals who struggle to focus were engaged in doing work, because they simply hadn’t the energy for shenanigans.
My response — especially after my wonderful colleague brought me coffee, which I had not had enough time to purchase on my way to work (thanks, Monica!) — was to deal with the Long Weekend Hangover by becoming hyper.
Caffeine and adrenaline, folks. It got me through to 3:30, carrying me through three classes, prep period, lunchtime errands (although I will admit to feeling a bit sick at 11:30 before I got food in me), buying crickets after work, returning movies, and picking up dinner at Subway before I crashed. And like my students, even though I was superficially hyper, I had no real energy for shenanigans, enabling me to get work done.
It’s curious. I was once told by a practicum teacher that she felt I was performing better and relating more to my students while I was slow and methodical due to exhaustion. I remember staring at her in disbelief. So the key to being more effective (I thought to myself at the time — I may have spoken it aloud, though) was to be completely exhausted? Drained and at the point of curling into a ball to sleep under a desk?
Maybe she had a point. I know I get excited about things and when I get excited, I tend to speak really quickly. I’ve gotten much better at pacing my speech and instructions over thirteen-plus years of teaching (at least, I hope so — mostly positive reviews from parents and students, so there’s that), and during a Long Weekend Hangover, we’re all just a little more slower and methodical because we’re just coping. Plodding along.
But despite the unexpected side benefit of increased productivity, which may only be linked to that caffeine- and adrenaline-induced rush, the Long Weekend Hangover is gross and unhealthy. I don’t like it. You don’t like it. I wish there were a better way to deal with the switch back to “normalcy”, a healthier transition than what we normally do. I know I’m very fortunate to have both the Friday and the Monday off, but I wonder whether I’d be better off going back to work on the Monday instead. I certainly tried to use the Monday here at home to get work done, but I found it extremely difficult and more stressful than helpful, because at home, I’m in the parent and spouse role. And yeah, I guess I could have gone into the workplace. I chose to stay in my house instead. Lesson learned?
Anyway, I hope you survived your Long Weekend Hangover, if you had one. If you didn’t, I salute you. For the rest of us, just keep sharing the chocolate.