All week we look forward to the weekend. It’s as natural to the human condition as breathing, that love of freedom. When Friday finally decides to roll around, it’s like the world is raining magical rainbows and unicorns. Whatever stress happened during the week is erased with the image of a Saturday and Sunday playing in our minds. But in a matter of what seems like minutes, Sunday night is suddenly knocking on the door announcing the arrival of Monday and we’re left wondering what happened to our highly-anticipated two days.
Unfortunately, the black hole that is Netflix, social media, fast food, and your couch stole the precious time you were looking forward to… that’s where your weekend went. Losing your Saturday and Sunday to the infamous sofa is nothing like losing pocket change to it; you can’t lift up the seat cushions a few weeks from now and find your weekend tucked into the furthest crevice, covered in food crumbs and dust. Your weekend is gone forever. *insert dramatic tone here*
Losing your weekends isn’t the most pleasant habit to fall into. You only get two days a week to really do what you want, when you want, with whoever you want. Now if what you really want to do involves Netflix, Taco Bell, and your beloved sofa, then so be it! You do you, friend. But, too much Netflix every weekend can leave you unfulfilled and far from happy. To avoid this, here are five habits you should avoid during the weekend.
Failing to plan
Don’t leave your weekend plans up to chance—if you do, you’ll find yourself in a blanket burrito binging Orange is the New Black. Instead, try to plan something: whether it’s a trip out of town, a local event, or a get-together with a couple friends. An article from Business Insider refers to the book Stumbling on Happiness, which was written by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, to back up this point. In the book, Gilbert says you receive more happiness out of planned events because you can get the most bang for the buck. In layman’s terms, all that anticipation you feel leading up to a planned event makes you just as happy and just as fulfilled as actually going to the event. So get to planning!
Not focusing on yourself
During the week, you never really have a good opportunity to focus on yourself. Fires need to be put out at work and family responsibility at home can take all your time. Because of this, it’s extremely important you do something over the weekend that betters who you are and what you can do. A personal favorite of mine is scheduling a massage at my favorite spa down the street (which also kills two birds with one stone, the planning and the pampering tips). But it can be anything that strikes your fancy: working out, reading that book you’ve been looking forward to since you bought it a month ago, meditating to calm your mind, learning an instrument, basically anything that promotes your mind, body, or soul. And if that’s binging Netflix, you do that. No judgement.
Working all day
You need to stop working at some point before the weekend begins, which can be especially difficult if you have a stressful job or a lot of responsibility at your company. Many people recommend leaving all work at work but, to be honest, this can sometimes be unrealistic and create unnecessary stress. Whether it’s work-work or home-work, there will always be something to work on. A better solution is to allot time every weekend for work projects and house chores, like every Saturday morning from 8AM to 11AM or every Friday evening from 6PM to 9PM. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you keep your work time separated from the rest of the weekend. You can just as easily lose your weekend to work as you can lose it to the sofa. So when making those social plans, pencil in your work time as well and stick to the schedule as much as possible.
Sleeping too much
After a long week of stressful deadlines, tedious busy work, and anxiety-provoking meetings, it’s easy to want to sleep ALL weekend and get back some of those Zs you didn’t manage to get throughout the week. Maybe you were tossing and turning on Tuesday night because you had a huge presentation the next morning, or perhaps you missed a deadline on Thursday and the anxiety turned what you thought was deep sleep into complete restlessness so when you woke up in the morning, it felt like you hadn’t slept at all. Unfortunately, according to Scientific American, sleep debt cannot be repaid in one extended snooze marathon. So even though you think sleeping all day Saturday will make up for only getting 5 hours of rest each night during the week, you’re sadly mistaken. Don’t waste your precious weekend hours trying to catch up on sleep. If you’re serious about paying back that sleep debt, you’ll have to tack on extra hours each night until you find your sweet spot of just enough rest. Try 8 hours and work from there.
Yes, plan some activities, schedule out some time for work, and treat yourself to something you enjoy, but do not overschedule your weekend to the point it feels like another workday. Make sure you have plenty of downtime in between tasks, and don’t set an alarm in the morning unless you absolutely need it. You still want to feel like the weekend is a break from the grind of life, so try and find that balance that works for you. Everything in moderation, right? On Monday, you’ll look back and appreciate that you didn’t spend 48 hours straight eating Skittles and watching Hulu.