Do you remember when the weekend felt different from the rest of the week? When Saturday and Sunday were anticipated with excitement? When TGF had meaning?
WFH (work from home) has become the norm rather than an exception. Dining out is a memory from days past. And making a date to do something special over the weekend—well, what’s there to do?
Unfortunately, COVID has made life feel like groundhog’s day. Regardless of whether it is Wednesday or Sunday, every day feels the same. When we check in with friends and relatives, there is “nothing new” to report more often than not.
We’ve had tremendous loss due to this pandemic. Although it can’t compare to the loss of life, jobs, and celebrations, another loss we are suffering is the loss of the weekend.
That is unless you work to create a weekend that is different from the rest of the week and exciting to anticipate.
Why bother, you may ask? Because having a distinct break between a workday and a day off is vital to our health, happiness, and well-being. Taking at least 24 hours off is how you can destress, relax, and rejuvenate. Without doing so, it is difficult to maintain the energy needed to power through the workweek.
BTW, if your job requires being on Saturday and or Sunday, just apply this info to whatever day(s) of the week you have off.
Despite all our current restrictions, it is possible to regain your weekends and look forward to one or two days of respite from work. Not only to rejuvenate but to have some fun.
Here are my best tips to make the most of your weekend.
Close down your workweek the way you would if you were leaving an office behind for the weekend.
I’ve created a checklist of activities I do each Friday afternoon when closing up. First, I’ll check my daily to-do lists to make sure nothing fell through the cracks during the week’s busyness. If something did, and I can handle it quickly, I’ll do so. If not, it gets transferred to the following week’s “must do” list. Next, I create my focus for the following week. I check my calendar to see what’s coming up. I’ll list what is essential to accomplish and plan out on my calendar when I’ll get it done.
And lastly, I clean my office desk. Not seeing papers scattered, empty water bottles or sticky notes all over signifies to me the week is done.
What tasks would you need to do to close down and tell yourself the workweek is done?
Create rituals during the weekend that are exclusive to your day off.
My weekend begins on Friday late afternoon. I have many things I look forward to that only occur once I’ve closed down my home office.
For instance, I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner on Friday night. I love my wine and look forward to it. It signifies the start of my weekend. I don’t indulge mid-week because I don’t like how I feel when I need to be up early the next day and totally focus on my clients and job responsibilities.
I allow myself to sleep in at least one, preferably both, days of the weekend. It’s a great feeling not to set my alarm and allow myself to wake the next morning naturally. Doing so spells the weekend is here! Ironically, I don’t usually sleep much more than an hour or so later than usual. But oh, how great to wake whenever my body says it has had enough sleep.
Pre-pandemic, my husband and I always went out on Saturday evenings. Either we were off to the theater or local performance. Or we had dinner plans with friends. Oh, how I would look forward all week to going out.
I miss dining out, being out, and seeing my friends! However, we have found a way to make Saturday night special. We bring in dinner from one of our local restaurants, and we eat in the dining room. Sometimes I’ll put candles or flowers on the table. It feels special. It may not be the same as being with friends, but those days will come again. For now, Saturday dinner still feels different than the rest of the week.
What rituals could you put in place to make weekends feel special again?
Early in the week, plan something festive for the weekend, and put it on the calendar.
We may not be able to head out and participate in the same activities we used to love during our days off, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find a few things to look forward to.
I have been planning a “touch base phone call” for Saturday afternoons. In advance, I think about whom I haven’t spoken with in a while and plan to call. That’s right—call, not text, not email. It is a luxury to know I can talk on the phone for as long as I like. Nothing is pulling my attention away, or anything I need to rush off to do.
We’re all a bit Zoomed out and tired of our devices. However, touching base via Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime truly can lift our spirits. I have a Sunday family Zoom chat this weekend. Last weekend, we had cocktails over FaceTime with best friends we haven’t seen in person for so long. My client with young kids has made Saturday evening Family Game Night.
Be creative and think outside the box. What can you put on your calendar for this upcoming weekend that you would look forward to?
Be okay with the slower pace of life and having more downtime than in the past.
We are at an exciting turning point in this long, difficult period we have been navigating. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. As more and more folks get vaccinated, we will begin to reemerge into life as it used to be.
Don’t forget how often that pace was so hectic we couldn’t catch our breaths. Weekends were often as jammed full as the weekdays. Remember going back to work exhausted from too much activity, too much food, too much alcohol, and too little sleep?
Perhaps when life returns to normal, and you are back to working outside the home, the division between the workweek and weekend will once again be distinct. But it is possible, we just might learn from this time that a slower pace is not such a bad thing. There is a joy to be found right under our own roof.
I know for sure that I will never again take for granted dining out in a restaurant and spending time with friends. But, I just might adopt a once-a-month Saturday night dinner in my dining room with just my hubby and me.
I hope I’m instilling some ideas on how you can make the most of your weekend, not only during this pandemic but once we are beyond as well.