Weekends. They have quite the allure, don’t they?
Thanks to the standard American work week, weekends have become the window of time in which we place all of our hopes and expectations for not only recreation, but relaxation, quality time with family, and dare I say it, self-actualization through the completion of various projects.
Whether it’s reading, gardening, getting outdoors, or simply binge-watching the latest Netflix series, weekends have a great deal of pressure riding on them. Even for those of us who are self-employed and have a non-traditional schedule, the weekend is hallowed ground.
I have always found myself struggling with balancing the myriad of expectations and hopes for my weekends. Saturday is usually dedicated to fun, but by Sunday evening, you can find me fiercely scrambling to get my act together for the week ahead.
Each weekend there are daily tasks and responsibilities that have to be handled, even if I wish they would magically handle themselves—the meal plan, getting groceries, laundry, cleaning the house, and getting my mind wrapped around what’s coming down the pike the next week.
Since I became a mom to two daughters, it has become more important to me to focus on what matters most on the weekends, so that we can make great memories together as a family.
I don’t really remember what I did with all my free time on the weekend before I had kids. Although our to-do lists have grown somewhat and our time is more limited, experiencing weekends through my daughters’ eyes has made it all the more magical.
I am going to share a few things I’ve learned over the past few years about how to embrace a minimalist approach to “weekending” that will hopefully leave you feeling fulfilled, refreshed, and ready to start the week ahead.
1. Be realistic about what you can accomplish.
It can be so easy to shoot for the stars with your weekend plans, and then reality hits that it is, ultimately, only 48 hours. Remember, you don’t need to do all the things in one weekend. Choose a theme and prioritize. Whether it’s rest, fun, personal development or working on a project, if you know going in what you want to focus on, you can lay your head on the pillow Sunday night feeling like you did exactly what you set out to do.
2. Ask yourself what you need that you didn’t get during the week.
Often our weeks and months are dictated by certain rhythms—work, school, projects, social events, and holidays. Some weeks seem to fly by with mounds of stress, and some lurch along at a snail’s pace. As the weekend approaches, take an assessment and ask yourself what you are grateful for about the week, and what may have drained you. Plan your weekend according to what you need more of in your life before Monday comes around again.
3. Make space for spontaneity.
Even for those of us who plan everything down to the minute and thrive on knowing what’s coming, it is so important to not fill up every second of our calendars on the weekends. Our weekdays are packed to the brim as it is—and it is up to you to make sure your weekends provide some time for quiet, rest, reflection and a much needed reset before the week begins again. Sometimes the most memorable moments are the ones that weren’t scheduled in advance.
4. Learn personal patterns and manage your own expectations.
Recently I learned that I am a “7” on the Enneagram, meaning that I thrive on new experiences. Adventure and making memories is very high on my list. Weekends are the perfect opportunity for me to hit the road with my family, one of my favorite things to do. But as we all know, there are certain chores that simply must get done. Thankfully, now that I understand my own personality and motivations, I can be more aware of when I need to bridle my adventurous spirit to get practical things done, and when I need to listen to my inner voice saying “let’s go!”
5. Be open to trying something new.
So often we can get stuck in a rut with our weekday routines, so why not change it up on the weekend? Rhythm is healthy, but getting out of our comfort zone is also great for reenergizing our spirit and giving us a new perspective. Decision fatigue is real, especially when there are so many options available to us for recreation. But if you slow down and listen to what you need right now, the best option will make itself clear. Make it a point to collect some new memories this weekend.
What are some other ways you are making the most of your weekends?
As I stepped into motherhood, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much my mom had given me. I felt like for the first time I really understood how much my own mother loved me, cared for me, and sacrificed for me over the years.
As parents, it can be easy to use that term with our children. But why then do we have such trouble using it with other adults?
Even though your eyes are heavy with sleep and your mind is foggy with “what day is it anyway?” you know you have so much to be thankful for.
Reaching a state of balance or equilibrium simply means that we maintain our present state of motion. It doesn’t mean everything stops