Saturday and Sunday. Two short days to feel more alive and less undead. Feeling more alive isn't just about the things we should do – but sometimes more importantly includes the things we shouldn't do. Read on to find out how to maximize your weekend.
Don't throw out your schedule
As freeing as a day without a schedule feels, a day without a schedule also means that you can't block out time for that two-hour nap you need.
A day that is scheduled is a day that fits in your most important things. And if it's not written down then it may not happen, which leads to disappointments not rejuvenation. So be sure to “schedule” in your most important things: rest, exercise and time with loved ones.
Don't bring work home
Weekends are a time to unplug. Plan your workweek in several ways to prepare yourself for an uninterrupted weekend. First, during your workweek, get your most important jobs done first so that crunch-time doesn't happen on the weekends. And second, use your workweek to let your boss and coworkers know that work-life balance is important to you. Communicate directly (even through “auto-reply” email messages that let all those you work with know you will not be available on the weekend.) Express gratitude to those you work with who support you and let them know how weekend sabbaticals help you remain sharp and supercharged.
Don't say yes to every request
You're a great person. You have nothing to prove. And when you get the last-minute request to help with a work project or church assignment ask yourself, Am I the only person who can do this? Or, am I the right person to do this? Analyze how you feel. Peace usually means it's a good idea to agree to the request. Stress, anxiety and fear of social repercussions are an indication to consider it further or to say no. Some requests may bump out things in your schedule – but often those kinds of requests typically leave you feeling refueled because you feel good about doing them. But if saying yes makes you feel resentful – consider a firm "no" and tend to your unmet need to refuel.
Don't stay inside
The great outdoors (aka getting outside) is great medicine for the soul. The benefits of fresh air and sunshine are paramount. Time in the sun helps activate Vitamin D synthesis in our bodies, which help combat things such as osteoporosis, cancer and even depression. And there's something about being outside that gets us moving. Whether we're throwing a football with our kids, doing yard work or just going for a walk it's hard to be sedentary for long when we're outside. And the bonus – your overall concentration levels will improve.
Don't forget about 1:1 time
Make your marriage one of your top weekend priorities by scheduling 1:1 time with your spouse. To make things easier, consider a standing date and secure a babysitter every week. And remember to keep the talk about kids to a minimum. Keep the conversation about you and your spouse. And as contrived as this might sound, many partners find ice-breakers helpful. Things like each of you saying your best and worsts of the day. Or giving each other a big-picture overview by sharing how your feeling spiritually, physically, emotionally and sexually.
Finally, don't forget to laugh. Bring up your personal favorite inside jokes (or stay on the lookout for any newly created inside jokes) to keep things fun and lighthearted. The investment you make into your marriage will keep you rejuvenated long past the weekend.
Heather Merrill is a single mom, writer and eyewitness to play-date debacles.