Some people obsess about their weekends. They jealously guard their time, refusing to make plans or commit anything to the diary because they’re so focussed on their desire to chill and take it easy. Their justification is that the rest of their time is so hectic and organised that they want to ensure their weekends are free to relax, go with the flow and do what comes naturally. They believe that this is the best way to have a great weekend.
But whilst this may sound great in principle, it’s not uncommon for Sunday night to then be spent feeling exasperated at yet another wasted weekend. There may be regrets at not having caught up with friends, gone for a country walk or aimlessly roamed along a beach. They may have missed arranging a little ‘me time’ with a good book or not given themselves a quick half an hour to sort through a messy work situation.
A little forward planning can make all the difference and mean that you enjoy a far more satisfying weekend. Here are some tips on the best way to have a great weekend.
– Why not plan in advance ‘wet weekend’ and ‘dry weekend’ options? Discussing suggestions and having them in mind means that either way, rain or shine, you have some great ways to use your time at the ready. Then, once you’re up and out of bed, you can quickly start each day. Rainy day plans may include food shopping, listening to your music collection, going to see a film, whilst fine day plans might involve going out visiting people or places, enjoying a day out in the country, having a bike ride. This way you alleviate the need to waste an entire morning discussing and deliberating over what to do with your time.
– Spending weekends with loved ones is always important. During the week life can be so hectic with unforgiving back-to-back appointments to accommodate. Couples can simply end up exchanging updates and messages. Weekends potentially offer valuable time to properly talk, share and laugh together. They allow time to catch up on each other’s news and remain closely connected to those relationships. Sitting down together at mealtimes can be a great way to interact, as can playing games, sharing hobbies, going for walks or enjoying sports.
– Some people refuse to entertain anything to do with work over the weekend but sometimes thirty minutes away from the office spent sorting out a tricky work-related matter can effectively reduce the thought of a stressful Monday morning. And when you consider that 25% of people are reported as suffering from Sunday night insomnia the idea of doing a few tasks to prepare, so allowing you to be more in control of the coming week, isn’t perhaps such a bad decision after all.
– It’s important to allow time for tasks and chores at weekends if they can’t be done in the week. Ignoring them can mean that over time, the backlog accumulates and can become overwhelming. Try to share the load and delegate some tasks if possible. For seriously busy people it can be worth out-sourcing the more mundane chores and paying others to help with things like cleaning, gardening, ironing or DIY. The extra free time may be well worth the expense.
– Time for yourself is also important. Decide what’s needed by you in order to recharge your batteries. It might be enjoying a coffee whilst sat people-watching in the shopping mall, a yoga class, a thirty-minute relaxing bath or an undisturbed interlude reading your book. Schedule some weekend time for yourself and keep that appointment, just like you would with a VIP client.
– And don’t forget to relax and look after yourself over the weekend. Some people find that they suffer from headaches at the weekend as they detox from the large quantities of coffee readily consumed throughout the week. Others may find that they feel at a loss as they adjust to their weekend role with no clear ‘objectives’ or job description. After possibly years spent juggling assorted commitments it can be quite stressful at first to introduce a more relaxed approach towards free time. Be gentle with yourself as you use your weekends to reconnect with your life and with yourself.
Weekends used well can provide a regular natural break in which to switch off your word-related focus and remind yourself of the other priorities in your life. It may even be time to remind yourself what those original priorities were, why you’ve always worked so hard, what it’s all been for. Be flexible, set good habits in place and enjoy saying ‘yes’ sometimes to unexpected opportunities and invitations. Be prepared to try new things and occasionally accommodate others.
Yes, remember to catch up on some of the things that need doing, but equally invest in others and in yourself. That way, when you return to work on a Monday you’ll be refreshed, with a new lease of life and quite possibly a new way of looking at things, with better perspective.Treat weekends as a positive investment in the different areas of your life.
Susan Leigh is a long established counsellor, hypnotherapist, writer and media contributor who works with clients to help with relationship conflict, stress management, assertiveness and confidence issues. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She’s author of 2 books, ‘Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact’ and ‘Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain’; both are self help books with lots of easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help the reader regain control of their life.