I hear often from people who work full time that they cannot wait for the weekends. However, once the weekends come along, they can end up feeling just as stressed and busy as the weekdays, leaving many feeling tired and ‘behind’ come Monday morning. Because our western culture is so work-oriented and work-focused, many can feel that the weekends are their only time to see friends, run errands, have family time, and catch up on all they did not get done during the week. What a tall order for a two-day weekend! I want to talk about how to go into the weekend with intention, and how to have a weekend that feels both relaxing and filling.
The number one problem I see people creating for their weekends is overbooking or over-scheduling themselves. This can be all too common because of the shared feeling that the weekend is the only time to do it all- thus leading to many different events, social obligations or chores booked for both Saturday and Sunday. This overbooking can lead to the feeling that there is just as much of a schedule to follow on the weekend as there is during the week, not leaving space for spontaneity, calm, flexibility or time without obligations to fulfill.
The first step to having a weekend that feels good is to be aware of what you have scheduled and whether or not that feels doable for you. Everyone is different, and some may love having a jam-packed social schedule of things to do, while others prefer only one thing scheduled so as not to feel overwhelmed. Think about what works best for you and then take a look at your weekend. Ask yourself the following: Does it feel overbooked? Is it overwhelming to think about all the things I have planned this weekend? Is there any time to lay down, relax, hang out or meditate? How do I imagine I may feel come Monday with this schedule?
The next step to having a weekend that feels good is to consciously create time for self-care and/or self-reflection. This can look like a whole night or day with no plans, or it could even be an hour or two in the morning or before bed on one weekend day. So often we are go-go and do not take the time to pause, breath, and check in with how we are doing or what we need. Our nervous system needs a break from stress, to-dos, and the constant chatter in our head. Self-care can look different for everyone. Here are some examples of what self-care on the weekends could look like: drinking coffee with no distractions, creating time for a ten-minute mediation, a mindful walk with no phone, a long shower, a manicure, picking up that book you’ve been wanting to read, cooking a healthy meal for yourself or your family. There are so many ways we can tend to ourselves and check in, and making sure to do at least 1-2 self-care acts a weekend is crucial to feeling revived and energized come Monday.
Lastly, distinguish between what we need to do, and what we want to do. There may be a lot you want to get done or accomplished during the weekend, but are there things that can wait? When we don’t take the time to ask ourselves what can wait and what can't, it can often feel like we have to get everything done over the weekend- contributing to feelings of anxiety, stress, pressure and limited time. In order to alleviate these feelings, look at the tasks you put down for the weekend and take time after each one to ask- “does this need to get done this weekend, or can it wait?” The act of doing this is intentional and allows you to be more aware and mindful of how you want to spend your time.
Time to feel relaxed, time without plans, and time to take care of ourselves is all crucial to mental wellbeing. The weekend, or any time off work, can be the chance to have some space from the rigidity and hectic nature many of us experience during the workdays. Be intentional about the weekends, and make sure that you are taking the time to think about what would make you feel filled up, energized and joyful after the weekend.