15 Easy Ways to Enjoy Your Weekends More
Yay – the weekend’s here: time to relax, recharge, and enjoy your well-deserved time off. But what if you find your weekends aren’t quite meeting your expectations?
Ever feel like the weekend’s over in a flash and you didn’t do all the things you wanted or get the R&R you really needed? It’s time to improve your weekends.
How To Make The Most Of Your Weekends
If you’re regularly feeling a bit underwhelmed by the weekend, chances are you’re not starting Monday morning feeling refreshed and fulfilled by your time off. Here are 15 tips to help you start improving your weekends:
1. Identify where/how you can improve your weekend
First things first, take a look at where your weekends are going wrong, as this won’t be the same for everyone. Once you identify the problem, it will be much easier to address it.
Maybe you spend too much time running errands and doing catch-up jobs, so you get very little downtime. This means you’ll head into each new week already feeling frazzled instead of recharged. Or maybe you’re prone to spending half of your weekend on the sofa down a YouTube rabbit hole and then get up on Monday morning wondering what happened to the time and feeling unprepared for the week ahead.
Whatever the issue, it’s easy to turn your weekends around with some simple steps. Stop wasting those weekends and find out how to enjoy them to the full while still feeling like you got some important stuff done.
Once you’ve identified where your weekends might be going wrong, it’s time to think about what would make them better. What do you want to achieve out of your time off, and most importantly, how do you want it to feel?
Again, this won’t be the same for everyone: some people will want their weekends to include lots of socialising, others will want to be productive with DIY projects, some will want to take trips (post-pandemic!), while others will crave some quiet alone time.
Once you’ve figured out your own balance, that’s your starting point.
2. Change your weekend mindset
Part of the reason you might be looking to improve your weekends is because you find yourself being disappointed by them. What if you could feel more satisfied with your weekends just by changing your mindset? Sounds implausible? Well, a study published in the Harvard Business Review in 2019 concluded that this was completely possible.
The study involved over 400 U.S. workers, half of whom were told to treat their weekend like they were on holiday, and half of whom were told to treat it like a normal weekend. They found that the group who treated the weekend like a holiday enjoyed it significantly more than those who had treated it as a standard weekend.
So far, so unsurprising: but the important takeaway was that it wasn’t the difference in weekend activities between the two groups (or the money spent on those activities) that caused the increase in happiness. Instead it was the mindset adopted by the “vacationing” group: they ended up being more mindful of what they were doing, paying attention to the current moment and enjoying it to the full. This led them to increased happiness where they enjoyed their weekend more.
Trying to be present in what you’re doing at the weekend (instead of worrying about what’s going to happen on Monday, for example) can go a long way towards making your weekends happier and more satisfying.
3. Schedule your weekend time better
One of the easiest ways to improve your weekend is to by structuring your time to feel like you’ve made the most of it and not wasted it. Getting to Sunday and feeling like you’ve squandered your precious time off means you’re more likely to succumb to the Sunday night blues.
An easy way to change this is to “front-load” your weekend with the boring stuff, like errands, housework, grocery shopping etc. Get up and do these things on Saturday morning, if you can. By lunchtime you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment at having already worked through your list of chores, plus a feelgood sense that the rest of the weekend can free of dull commitments – and also guilt!
If you’re thinking there’s no way you could get through everything needed to keep your household going by Saturday lunchtime, then try to think of any places in the week where you could fit in any of these jobs. Anything you can squeeze in during lunch breaks or after work will free up time for you at the weekend. And trying to do things like sorting out the kids’ schoolbags for next week on Friday evening will free time up on Sunday.
Additionally, if you start cleaning the house, or some other project, on a Saturday morning, set a timer. You’re more likely to focus and work faster if you know the clock’s ticking. Don’t let chores take over more time than necessary – its too easy to let them creep over into the test of the day, so restrict the time available to them.
4. Plan some things in advance…
You’re more likely to do the things you actually want to at the weekend if you plan them in advance. Making a plan means it’s more likely to happen and not get shelved because something else got in the way. What you do is up to you.
Want to do an online yoga class? Plan it: book your place and set aside the time. Want to be productive and get on with a project? Plan it and set a specific time to get started. Meeting friends? Schedule a time in advance instead of vaguely planning to catch up at the weekend.
Making a plan and putting things in the calendar means you’re much more likely to finish the weekend feeling rejuvenated, instead of feeling resentful about what you never got round to doing.
The other benefit of planning something for Saturday or Sunday is that you get to enjoy the anticipation during the days leading up to the weekend – and that might be just the thing to get you through a long or tough week.
5. …But leave room for spontaneity
Although having something enjoyable planned for the weekend is a good idea, it’s better not to have it completely scheduled in advanced. Leave some space in your weekend for being spontaneous and you’re more likely to feel relaxed about it.
During the week, our work, school and family lives are led by routine, so breaking away from that during the weekend can help to differentiate it from the daily grind.
6. Get enough sleep – but not too much
The weekend should definitely include some time to rest, relax and recharge. You won’t be refreshed for a new week if you haven’t had time to get over the last one. So try to prioritise rest – and sleep – during your time off. Many of us tend to stay up later on Fridays and Saturdays, but try not to stay up hours later than your normal bedtime or you can upset your body clock. Same goes for oversleeping in the morning. Messing with your sleep patterns will only lead to more tiredness (and less positivity) on Monday morning.
Don’t feel guilty about taking a nap at the weekends either. A short daytime nap might be just the thing to recharge you – but try to keep it to 30 mins or less and before 2pm, or it could disrupt your night time sleep pattern.
7. Have some no-tech time
Don’t just rest your body – make sure you give your brain and your eyes a break at the weekend too, by having some no-tech time. Put down your phone, shut your laptop, and switch off the TV for a bit.
Unplugging from technology for a while is unarguably good for us, making us more present and able to enjoy the moment more, able to sleep better, and improving connections with family and friends – which are all key ingredients in improving your weekend time. So enjoy some time with zero distractions and grab a book, a jigsaw puzzle or a board game – or head out for a walk, a jog, a picnic, or an alfresco coffee. All those messages and notifications will happily wait for you to return, and you’re more likely to feel relaxed and rejuvenated when you do.
8. Get outside
We’re all aware that getting out in the fresh air and outdoor light has multiple health benefits, such as increased vitamin D absorption and decreased blood pressure. However, studies have also shown that spending regular time outdoors also decreases stress and increases happiness, especially when you spend time in green spaces.
One of the easiest ways to improve your weekend and your wellbeing is to prioritise some time outside, preferably in a natural space. Get out there for a walk, a cycle, or any other activity to get you moving in the fresh air.
I always try to fit in getting outside whenever possible at weekends. Living in Scotland means we have to be prepared for all weathers, but we certainly don’t let it stop us from enjoying some much-needed fresh air. One of the hardest parts of lockdown for me has been the restrictions on local travel. Not being allowed out of our area means we’ve been missing some of our favourite weekend walks.
If you follow my Instagram you’ll see some of our favourite walks regularly on there.
9. Do something to improve your home environment
Pre-pandemic, you probably spent more time at home during the weekend than in the rush of the working week. And chances are you’re spending a lot more time at home in general these days. So what better use of some spare weekend time than doing something to perk up your living space?
Doing one or two small things to improve your home environment won’t take long and can really help to boost your mood and make you feel like you’ve achieved something in a short space of time. Here are some quick and easy ideas:
- Buy flowers or a new plant to brighten up a room
- Declutter a room, a cupboard, a drawer, or just that corner of the kitchen where all the paperwork and junk builds up
- Get your best photos off your phone onto your walls by ordering prints to frame
- Or frame some of your kids’ artwork to cheer up a space
- Rearrange some furniture: a change is as good as a holiday, as your granny used to say
- Get some new cushions or throws to add some colour to a room
- Rearrange a bookshelf by colour, or space out your books with decorative items
- Change your lighting: swap lamps around, add fairy lights, or invest in a new reading lamp
10. Factor in some time to “get stuff done”
Weekends should primarily be about doing things that you enjoy and that recharge your mental and emotional batteries, but they also provide much-needed time to catch up on your life admin. If you can fit in a couple of jobs that you’ve been meaning to do, you’re more likely to end your weekend feeling a sense of achievement and that you’ve made the most of your time.
If it helps, set a timer when you start so that whatever you’re doing doesn’t end up expanding to fill the rest of the day.
11. And have some downtime
One of the most tempting things to do with your weekend is to overschedule it and try to fit in All The Things. There is such a thing as too much fun though. Over-filling your time might just mean you end up harassed about activities over-running and being late for whatever’s next. The best weekends are the ones where we move at a more leisurely pace than during the week, so be realistic about what’s possible.
Also, leave some gaps in your weekend – and don’t feel guilty about it. Empty time is an important part of your time off. It leaves you free to be spontaneous and do whatever you feel like in that particular moment.
12. Make time for some weekend food
Weekend food should be a bit more leisurely than the rushed meals of the week. Try to fit in a meal at the weekend that’s a little bit more special. That doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of time in the kitchen if you don’t want to: it might just mean the whole family sitting down together, or ordering a favourite takeaway.
I do like a bit of gentle weekend cooking though. Pottering about in the kitchen, baking with the kids, making a giant pot of soup, or batch cooking for the freezer are all so much more enjoyable when there’s no rush and nowhere to be.
Have a look at some ideas for Easy Weekend Food.
13. Do something that makes you laugh
The physical and mental benefits of laughter are renowned – it isn’t known as the best medicine for nothing. If you think about some of your best weekend memories, it’s likely there was a good amount of laughter involved.
De-stress, strengthen your immune system, improve your cardiac health, and lower your blood pressure with a good laugh. Watch your favourite comedy, attend an online stand-up show, or call your funniest friend. You might even want to try laughter yoga. Doesn’t matter how you do it, but make having a good giggle a regular part of your weekend and you’ll enjoy the short- and long-term benefits.
14. Enjoy the perfect Sunday morning
Sunday mornings: that precious, slow start to the slowest day of the week. Sunday morning is also a weekend mid-point, a reset button where we start to transition from the previous week to the next. But sometimes they can be a bit meh. It’s all too easy to lose them to a hangover and another load of laundry. There’s a better way.
If your Sunday mornings need brightening up a bit, a few simple changes can take them from dreary to cheery. Try these Tips for the Perfect Sunday Morning
15. Don’t give in to the Sunday night blues
If you’re the type of person who wakes up on Sunday feeling relaxed and happy, but by late afternoon you’ve developed a gnawing sense of dread and low-level anxiety, you’re probably susceptible to the Sunday Night Blues.
The problem with the Sunday night blues is twofold: firstly, you’re going through an unnecessary sense of gloom every week, but you’re also robbing yourself of the chance to enjoy your Sunday evening and basically shortening your weekend by focusing on Monday morning.
It’s easy to turn your Sunday anxiety around by making some smart changes to your weekend: How To Beat The Sunday Night Blues
I hope this post has been useful in showing you how some simple changes can really help to improve your weekend.
Have a great weekend!