Things to do over the weekend to unwind and prepare for the week ahead
Dreading Monday? Feel like you’ve not had enough time to chill over the weekend?
Don’t worry, we’ve rounded up a selection of things you can do to unwind and prepare for the week ahead. Starting a weekend routine gives you a head start on a happy and successful working week.
Why should we unwind over the weekend?
After a long working week, it is important to take time to unwind over the weekend. Taking time to relax can help recharge and reset you ready for the week ahead. Think of yourself as an athlete. An athlete wouldn’t relentlessly train without any breaks. And neither should you. The time spent resting is just as important as the time spent training.
The Sunday Scaries
The Sunday Scaries are those feelings of dread and anxiety about returning to work after a weekend off. They prevent you from living your life to the fullest on Sunday. They slowly creep up on you, tempting you to call in sick. Some of the signs you are experiencing the Sunday Scaries are feeling stressed, restless, uneasy and unable to sleep. A survey in 2019 reported that 2 out of 3 workers in the UK experienced this feeling of Sunday night fear.
How to unwind over the weekend
Make your Sunday a special time to focus on self-care. Self-care is important for relieving stress and increasing productivity. Make sure you’ve done all your chores on Friday night or during Saturday. That means you get a whole 24 hour just for you.
Some self-care activities to try are:
- Yoga and meditation - release some feel-good chemicals and boost your mood
- Aromatherapy bath - add your favourite essential oils and drift away
- See friends - social time keeps you feeling connected and valued
- Read a book - improve your cognitive abilities and have fun
- Eat healthily - preparing nutritious foods balances your mind and body
- Get in nature - time outdoors improves mental and physical health
Yes, it’s tempting to have a look when your email pings. But if it’s work, then it’s not important during the weekend. Don’t let work creep into your downtime. The weekend is your time to rest and recoup. Work can wait. Scrolling the socials is another thing to limit at weekends. Research shows it actually distorts our sense of time and with only 48 hours to play with, it makes sense not to waste any of it.
Balance your relaxation
If you’ve had the week from hell, it’s tempting to want to chill all weekend like a zombie. You deserve it, right? But too much relaxation might mean you are neglecting your chores and that can cause you stress too. Realising on Sunday night you haven’t washed your work clothes is going to cause more stress. On the other hand, don’t spend all your time being so busy there’s no time for relaxation. You will feel exhausted by the time your Monday alarm goes off.
Make the weekend last longer
OK, so you might not have access to a time machine. But the passing of time can be manipulated so that it feels like you’ve had longer than a couple of days. You know those times when you are so engrossed in something that time flies? There is a way to do the opposite. A few simple strategies can stretch out your precious 48 hours so you feel you’ve actually had a weekend.
Plan in advance
Planning weekend activities in advance gives you something to look forward to. It also makes sure you will actually do them. Arrange to meet up with a friend, book tickets to an event or join a class. Doing something fun means you avoid that feeling of disappointment on Sunday that you’ve wasted yet another weekend.
There’s nothing so important it can't wait for Monday. So silence your work email, put away your laptop and clear anything away that is work-related. Out of sight, out of mind. That way, you will truly be able to relax.
Learn something new
Use the weekend as an opportunity to focus on a different skill set. For the creatives out there, that might mean learning something technical. For the technically minded, you could take up art. Learning a new skill literally changes your brain. This is because of the neuroplasticity of your brain. Learning a new language, practising an instrument, or getting creative is an amazing workout for your brain.
Research has shown that mindfulness alters our perception of time. The brilliant thing is, it’s really easy to do. Mindfulness is simply slowing down and becoming aware of the moment. It takes the focus away from our racing thoughts. Notice your breathing, suspend judgement on your thoughts or listen to a mindfulness meditation.
How to prepare for the week ahead
Switch off on Friday
At the end of a hectic week, the urge to escape and start the weekend is strong. Instead of running out of the office early, take 10 minutes to organise for the week ahead. Update your calendar, edit your diary and make a note of what you need to do on Monday morning. When you roll back into the office on Monday, you know exactly what tasks to tackle.
Meal prep and planning
Organise your food for the week ahead by planning your meals in advance. When you’ve decided what to eat, there’s less chance you’ll grab a takeaway on the way home. Try prepping your lunches so you don’t end up snacking through the day. The expense of buying lunches can add up. Planning beforehand can also motivate you to eat healthily.
Write down your goals
Take some time out to mentally prepare for the week ahead. You might want to write a to-do list or jot some notes down. This prevents them running round your head and interrupting your chill-time. Writing down life goals or creating a vision board can also inspire you to make the most of your time.
Get to bed early
You want to feel energised and on top of your game, right? So have an early night on Sunday. Feel rested, restored and ready to face whatever your week throws at you. Having a relaxing bedtime routine is key. We all know that getting enough sleep can be tricky. By creating a routine that works for you and sticking to it, you can ease yourself into the next week.
Relax, reset, go!
Time to unwind and prepare for the week ahead reduces stress. It also physically and mentally prepares you for the challenge of a new working week.
We all know how tempting it is to party the weekend away, numbing our anxiety with cigarettes and alcohol. Be more like a ripple+. Be chilled, smooth and go with the flow. Sunday nights should be all about the chill factor. Breathe in your favourite plant-powered puff and Monday morning will seem like a ripple+ DREAM.