7 Weekend Activities That Prevent You From Relaxing
If you're like many people, you probably spend a good portion of the workweek vividly imagining your relaxing weekend plans, and counting down the days until you can sleep in, nap whenever you please, and leisurely sip coffee in a cafe. But then Saturday arrives, and none of that stuff actually happens.
Instead, your weekend morphs into a chaotic 48 hour period, where you worry about work, stay up too late, and get suckered into one too many obligations. What was supposed to be a relaxing and rejuvenating time turns into something that feels like quite the opposite. And once Monday rolls around, you're just as tired and stressed out as you were on Friday.
Sound familiar? Then it may be a good idea to reclaim your weekend, and prioritize the act of de-stressing — whatever that looks like to you. If it means making plans and seeing a few friends, so be it. If it looks more like spending the entire day in bed surrounded by snacks and books, do that.
Whatever your plans, the weekend should be all about you. Here are seven chaotic, stress-inducing things to avoid doing, so that you can finally slow down, do you, and actually feel refreshed come Monday.
1. Stop Watching The Clock
To get the most out of your weekend, try not to view it as one big countdown till Monday. Instead, allow yourself to slow down, be present, and get lost in a world without time.
"Sometimes losing track of time is the best way to not feel the pressure of having to do something," Karen M. Carlucci, LCSW, a licensed psychotherapist and professional coach, tells Bustle. "If there's no deadline, then there is nothing pressing to do." And really, what could be more relaxing than that?
Allowing yourself this time away from, well, time, can be quite the experience. Without a to-do list, or alarm clocks going off, you can really just be in the moment. And nothing is more refreshing than that.
2. Checking Work Emails
Sure, you're just "popping online to check something." But before you know it, three hours have passed and you're knee-deep in work emails. So whatever you do, steer clear of your laptop.
As Carlucci says, "Commit to the decision that this weekend is for you and what brings you joy, not for what you do are required to do during the week." Remember, all those emails will be there waiting for you, once you're back at work.
3. Obsessing Over Social Media
While it's obviously fine to catch up with friends, or to spend a few hours watching the news, nothing's more relaxing than putting all that aside for a while, and living life phone- and news-free.
Here's why: "Though our gadgets or TV may be relaxing at times, staying hyper-aware of what is going on elsewhere is not only distracting but raises anxiety, either about what we are missing or what we should be worrying about," Carlucci says.
Allow yourself some time — even if it's just for a few hours — to truly get away from it all and "unplug." It may be just what your brain needs.
4. Rehashing The Work Week
Did something go horribly wrong on Friday afternoon? Are you worried about a big meeting looming in the week ahead? Try to put it all out of your head, if only for these precious 48 hours.
And instead, "reflect on the wins from the week instead‚ big or small," Kea M. Duggan, coach and founder of The Aha! Project tells Bustle. This will not only allow you to savor your accomplishments, but it'll help you gear up and build confidence, so you can tackle it all again come Monday.
5. Trying To Have An "Exciting" Weekend
Sometimes, nothing's more rejuvenating than spending some time at home taking a nap, or lolling around your apartment in pajamas and a face mask. So if that's what you want to do — even if it's Saturday night and your friends are begging you to go out — remind yourself it's more than OK to stay in.
As author and self-care coach Carley Schweet tells Bustle, "It's OK to take time to yourself and fill up your own cup with all things relaxing." It may not be as exciting as going out. But sometimes, a few nights alone are just what you need.
6. Crumpling Up Your To-Do List
If you want some pure, unadulterated relaxation time, it may be necessary to schedule it in. So even though you're supposed to be free of to-do lists for the weekend, a to-do list might be the very thing you need.
"It may sound counter-intuitive after a week of appointments, but scheduling in time for rejuvenation can help ensure [you] do it, instead of skipping it or putting it off for later," J. A. Plosker, MA, JD, MSW, LMSW tells Bustle. "Schedule tasks and errands, and also build in downtime (time alone, time with friends, time reading, etc.) ... If you write it down and schedule it, you'll be more apt to think about it and hold yourself accountable for taking it."
7. Forcing Yourself To Relax
If you're under the impression that the weekend is for big ticket moments of relaxation, such as going to the beach, or swinging in a hammock, or sipping cocktails by a pool, then you might actually feel more stressed when these things don't happen.
So keep in mind that relaxation can't be forced. And, it might not always come in the form you were expecting. "Some say that rest is a change in what you do," Dr. Oksana Hagerty, an educational and developmental psychologist, tells Bustle. "Amazingly, cleaning the house [or] doing landscaping" can do the trick, even those these things aren't considered leisurely. As long as it's different from the norm, it may be just what your brain needs to relax.
If you're in desperate need of a relaxing weekend, avoiding these stressful things can mean giving yourself a true shot at rejuvenation. By focusing on exactly what you want to do — and not all the things you're supposed to do or think you have to do — you'll be more likely to feel refreshed by Monday.