When you have a jam packed week, the weekend is clung to like a lifeline. But what happens when those two days feel like they end in a snap and it's back to being Monday again? You need to find ways to make the most of your weekends in order to stretch out those 48 hours into something equally amazing and recharging. Not only will a relaxing weekend have you feeling ready to tackle another monster of a week, but it can give you the chance to really enjoy life and not get sucked into a routine that feels a lot like a daily grind.
I know this can sound obvious — I mean, who doesn't want to take advantage of their time off? But how many times have you found yourself plastered on the couch for a full CSI marathon or going to the same old bars and restaurants you always do? To really make it feel like you've had a proper couple of days off, you need to make those hours count. And here is how to do it: Below are 11 tips on how to make the most of your weekend.
1. Make Plans Ahead Of Time
This tip isn't for the obvious logistics, like what if the concert tickets sell out or the reservations at the Asian fusion restaurant fill up. Rather, the anticipation of having kick ass plans hypes you up through the week and has you dancing in place once Friday rolls by. Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend, told Oprah, "If you make a reservation on Wednesday for a Saturday-night dinner at your favorite restaurant, you'll spend the next three days imagining your pasta carbonara to come — which improves your weekend and your week."
While on-the-fly plans obviously work too, if you want to wring the most out of your weekend make sure to pencil in your fun ideas well ahead of time to get that buzz going.
2. Go On Adventures
You don't have to book a plane ticket to Greece for this one, but push yourself to go on mini-adventures around your city or town to keep things exciting. Set a radius of how far you're willing to go, and then find cool new places to explore: Maybe it's a quaint town that looks like it's made out of doll houses, or a national park that's got some interesting boulders you can climb, or maybe it's a new restaurant you've never taste-tested before. Vanderkan told entrepreneur site Fast Company, "Whatever it is, remember that life can’t just happen on vacations, so invite in some serendipity."
3. Have A Running List Of Dreams
You know how sometimes it feels like there are a 100 things you'd love to do if only it was the weekend, but once Saturday rolls by all you end up accomplishing is re-watching old movies on Netflix. To make sure that doesn't happen, start a running list of dreams you'd love to see happen. Career writer Carolyn Cutrone from Business Insider pointed out, "Vanderkam suggests people create something called 'A List of 100 Dreams,' which prompts you to brainstorm anything you might want to do in life." While there might be some big goals on there like "Go to Ireland to drink whiskey," there will be smaller things on there too like "Try that gourmet donut place." You can focus on the smaller stuff once the weekend comes.
4. Get Chores Out Of The Way During The Work Week
Rather than leavng the weekend to scrub your tub, spread out your chores throughout the week so the weekend can be 100 percent dedicated to relaxation. Psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert for the Huffington Post warned, "Doing so will put pressure on you at a time when you are trying to decompress. Instead, lighten your weekend load by knocking off some of your chores during the week." Pop in laundry after dinner, tidy up the bathroom after your shower, and wake up a little earlier to straighten up your room.
5. Abandon The Phone
Set aside a couple of hours where you're not by your phone, and instead focusing on the moment. Alpert explained, "Being constantly connected to smartphones and social media spreads your attention thin, thus sapping you of energy at a time when you’re trying to recharge." Let yourself focus on the chicken wings you got with your gal pal, rather than worrying if that text came in.
6. Fill In Gaps With Things You've Been Neglecting
Sometimes schedules don't perfectly sync up and you're left waiting around, but take that thumb-fiddling time as an opportunity to catch up on fun things you've been neglecting. Vanderkam offered, "Read a novel instead of checking your email while waiting to pick up your 8-year-old at swim practice." Or some other examples would be grab a book you've been reading and page through it while you ride the bus to the bar, or listen to an interesting TED Talk while you wait for your friend to show up at the restaurant. If you're waiting for the laundry to finish put on a movie you've been dying to see since last year, or spend time in your Uber ride by planning that vacation you want to take at the end of the summer. This will ensure your weekend is jam packed with goodness, even if all you're doing is waiting.
7. Stop Thinking About Monday
Sunday is supposed to be one of the coziest days of the week: It's all about Bloody Marys, brunches, and spending some quality time with the ol' sofa. But a lot of people fall into t he trap of already beginning to dread Monday and all the work that's waiting on their desk, and so they lose out on a whole day where they could be recharging. Vanderkam pointed out, "But the thing is: At 3 p.m. on Sunday, I still have 15 hours before I'll wake up Monday morning, including seven hours before I need to go to bed. Why not seize that time?"
So how do you combat that? Make sure to have something special planned so you have no choice but to go out and have fun. Throw together a picnic, offer to host a small get-together at your apartment, or make plans to get dinner somewhere new with besties. Knowing that there's something relaxing on the roster for Sunday will make it harder for you to think about the work week that's right around the corner.
8. Use The Mornings For Something Other Than Cartoons
When you wake up on a weekend morning, chances are you're pretty energized because you're so jazzed to be off. Take that energy and go after one of your self-growth pursuits. Cutrone advised, "Weekend mornings are very easily wasted in laying about. Instead, set them aside for personal pursuits." Sit down and create, go to the gym, practice the guitar, learn a new language as you make pancakes — whatever it is, use that morning energy to better yourself.
9. Explore New Things You Can Try
With nothing more to do than to put on your comfiest sweatpants, the weekend is a great time to explore new hobbies and try new experiences. Lifestyle writer Elizabeth Pullman from Huffington Post said, "The weekend is a great time to pick up a new hobby. If you’re not sure what you’d like to do, make time across several weekends to try new things." Think of what has caught your interest in the past couple of months: Have you wanted to try a yoga class, or sign up for the truffle making class at the bakery? Maybe you'd like to try mountain biking through trails or learn how to code? Whatever it is, now is the time to run with it.
10. Throw A Shindig
It can be easy to lose touch with friends when the work week is heavy with deadlines and due dates, so try throwing a weekly get together at your place to get everyone you love under one roof. Pullman recommended, "Having trouble connecting with your friends during the week? Use the weekend as an opportunity to invite people over and catch up. It can be especially fun to have a weekly event with a rotating theme, so each week is something fun and new." Whether it's a game night or just an evening where everyone comes over and watches Game of Thrones, it'll be a great way to reconnect and have a laugh.
11. Prep For Monday On Friday
I'm sure the last thing you want to do when you come home from a long work week is start immediately thinking about Monday, but to make sure your Sundays are left work-free, tie up any loose ends on Friday. Business writer Katie Douthwaite Wolf from career development site The Muse offered, "To head off your Sunday blues, start preparing for your Monday morning on Friday...So clean out your inbox, make any urgent calls, and tie up your loose ends before you leave the office on Friday." You'll be glad you did.
With these tips, your weekends can be everything you'd hope them to be!