Do you get the Monday Blues? If the answer is yes, chances are, you’re not making the most of your weekends. If like most people, you spend yours doing laundry, catching up on sleep, and relaxing with a weekend Netflix marathon, your routine may have a lot to do with why you get the Monday Blues.
In a Quartz article, psychologist Tony Crabbe writes that when it comes to our leisure time, “the more we put into it, the more we get out of it.” And get this: too much rest on the weekend, can leave you feeling stressed on Mondays.
So as it turns out, you and I had the whole “rest to feel refreshed on the weekend” idea backward.
Successful people use their weekends to better themselves, not catch up on sleep and watch TV. They use their weekends to spend time with family and friends, enjoy their hobbies, pursue their passions and live out their dreams. Come Monday morning, they’re leaping out of bed, feeling refreshed and beaming. And their Mondays (even if they hate their jobs) don’t suck so much.
Here are 10 tips to help you get out of that cycle of looking forward to the weekend all week then doing very little with your weekends when they roll around.
1. Avoid drinking too much alcohol.
It’s probably not what you want to hear if you’re 25 (or 35) and still view the weekend as the time to indulge your vices, but at some point, we all have to learn to manage our lives in a way that makes us effective. So skip the hangover by going easy on the alcohol and weed-fueled benders. Opt for moderation when you enjoy them.
2. Start making weekend plans by mid-week.
When you leave your weekend planning until the last minute, or worse, making no plans at all, of course, you’re going to spend your weekends doing not much of anything. Make your weekend plans by mid-week… buy those concert tickets, make reservations, and firm up plans with friends and family. Come Friday evening and Saturday morning, you’ll have things to do lined up and ready to head out to.
3. Set aside Saturday or Sunday as your ‘personal sabbath.”
If you’re like a lot of people who work or go to school Monday through Friday, using Saturday as your personal sabbath could be the mental break you need. A clean break from work both mentally and physically is so necessary for you to feel refreshed. What was that story about the guy who rested on the seventh day? You know the one. He had a good idea… one we can take inspiration from.
4. Don’t fill your weekend with chores.
If you typically find yourself at Trader Joe’s on Saturdays trying to will your checkout line to go faster, switch your grocery shopping to a weekday if you can. There are “least busy days” to do almost everything. Taking advantage of them is one way I make the most of my weekends. I run errands, get my hair done, do laundry, and handle most of my household chores Monday to Thursday. In her Buzzfeed post, Rachel Wilkerson Miller shares another great idea: she does all her household chores on Friday nights to free up her weekends.
5. Become a local insider.
Picture this: It’s Sunday and you’re walking by your favorite neighborhood restaurant when the flyer about a live band playing there catches your eye. You’re so excited because you’ve heard about these guys and wanted to see them… until you realize you just missed them. The show was the night before. By subscribing to your local Time Out, following your favorite artists, checking Facebook events, and using apps such as NextDoor, LikeALocal, Meetup, and Eventbrite, you’ll be in the know sooner rather than later.
6. Take care of your appearance on the weekend.
If sweats and dingy tees make up your weekend wardrobe, your outfit is going to make you feel the way you look–uninspired and lazy. Curate a great weekend wardrobe that you feel comfortable in and that looks so cute, you want to go out and show it off.
7. Get outside.
Isn’t it great that we can go outside again? Now that businesses are opening back up, I for one, have a new level of appreciation for exploring my neighborhood post-pandemic. I will be taking more trips to farmers’ markets, walks to my local yogurt shop, vintage store, and lying on park lawns reading. How about you? Make a list of some of your favorite things to do outdoors and get out and enjoy them on your weekends.
8. Work on a hobby or a goal.
The weekend is the perfect time to get around to many of your good intentions. If you want to write a book or work on your personal development, carve out a block of time on the weekend for it. Want to practice Mandarin or go hiking? The weekend is when most people are off from work and free to join you in group activities like these. Go for it!
9. Put the phone away… sometimes!
That dopamine fix that you get from being on your phone all the time is not worth the cost to your social life and personal thriving. As someone who can’t live without my phone either, I know the solution to our collective phone addiction is not to stop using them or to feel guilty when we do, but to get smart about our time, and that includes our phone time. Being smart about our time includes being fully present for some moments. Take 30 seconds to snap and post a picture of that awesome sunset and 30 minutes to lie back and enjoy it. The experience of savoring the sunset will be more rewarding, psychologically rejuvenating, and more memorable than if you spend that 30 minutes watching your phone to see how many likes your post gets.
10. Set challenges for yourself.
Have you seen those “Do something new every day” challenges? As a 30-day exercise, doing one novel thing every day for a month is really inspiring and worth trying. To help you make the most of your weekends and escape autopilot fatigue, consider this variation on that challenge: do something new once a month. Create a weekend bucket list of things you’ve always wanted to do, such as bungee jumping and in a year, you could create at least 12 awesome lifetime memories.
Do you have a spectacularly awesome weekend memory that you want to share? Let us know in the comments or on social media @vurbmagazine.
Christine is a Life Strategist and Emotional Health Coach living in Los Angeles. She's big on meditation and believes in systems and routines, and in personalizing everything you do to help you get where you want to be.