Are you the kind of person who really lives for the weekends?Even for people who truly like their job, it is natural to favor weekends over weekdays – simply because we have more freedom to spend our time.
But if you are anything like me, you will know the feeling that the weekend passes way too quickly. Suddenly, it’s Sunday evening, and many of the things you were sure you would get done were all but forgotten.
You can change that. Quite easily, in fact. Here are 4 smart strategies that will help you find more happiness and nourishment during your weekends and vacations:
1) Consider your needs
Our mind and body usually signal quite clearly what they need – rest, energy, or maybe some excitement. But most of us are pretty bad at fulfilling those needs in an effective and healthy way.
For example, when we are hungry, we often choose bad foods that drain our happiness.
And we face the same issue when trying to use the weekend or a vacation to recharge our batteries. We simply cannot rely on chance or our impulses to get what we truly need.
Instead, by yourself (or with your partner!), pause and reflect on what you did not get enough of the last few days. Sleep? Time in nature? Some culinary delights? Companionship or romance?
2) Set intentions
Once you understand what your body and soul need the most right now, pick a couple of activities that satisfy these desires.
Even if your main goal for the weekend is to get some rest, consider what that ideally looks like for you. For most people, true relaxation comes through a combination of active elements (like hiking or yoga) and passive relaxation (chilling on your balcony, reading…). Intentionally make room for the things that feel good to you.
The idea is not to create a super ambitious 20 point to-do list – but to set a few realistic, balanced intentions.
The same is true for longer vacations – if you have a project you want to get done, make a realistic plan that lines out the specific steps you will need to take.
3) Roughly plan out each day
As I described in my 5 everyday habits for awareness and happiness, we tend to drift through our day if we don’t at least make a rough plan. Even on the weekend, this is really helpful to do things that will actually that make you feel good, instead of ending up spending half the day binge-watching some TV show.
So take 5 minutes in the morning to roughly schedule your day – making a realistic plan of the things you want and should do (like cleaning the bathroom). This will help you fulfill your needs – and also give you a sense of accomplishment.
It is important to take a lighthearted approach to this: Don’t create a minute-by-minute timetable of what your day will look like. Just plan what you want to do during which part of the day and the top3 things to get done today – e.g. for a Sunday that could be: take a nap, plan what to cook the next week, and spend an hour in nature.
4) Don’t ruin your sleep schedule
I know I am going to sound like your mum, but here goes: Don’t stay up too long on the weekend.
If your weekend and weekday sleep schedules are quite different, it’s as if you travel back and forth between different time zones every week. This social jetlag is part of why Mondays can be so hard on us and will seriously impact your stress level, sleep quality, and energy.
So try to keep a similar sleep schedule throughout your week. That also means that for most people, it is better to do a 20-30 minutes nap on weekend afternoons rather than sleeping in.
Don’t rely on weekends to be happy
Many of us tend to switch into weekend mode, where we suddenly live our lives very differently. I totally get this desire to reward yourself and do what you feel you missed out on during the week.
The important question is: Does that actually make you feel good? In my experience, chasing happiness is not sustainable.
Going all-out on the weekends can ultimately be quite draining and just make the weekdays seem even bleaker. You can of course favor weekends and vacations and look forward to them. But your goal should be to appreciate every moment and enjoy each day.