We cherish our weekends. More often than not, however, they don’t live up to our expectations. How many times have you found yourself eagerly anticipating the weekend, only to be left disappointed because it went by too fast and you didn’t make the most of it? If you want to enjoy weekends that leave you feeling refreshed and energized, then here are a few ways to help you make the most of it.

1. Start with a plan

You should plan your weekend just as you plan your week. Jot everything down so you know what your weekend plan is well in advance. This doesn’t mean you can’t allow for a bit of spontaneity here and there, of course, but in the main you should know what it is you want to get out of your weekend. If you don’t have any plans, you will very often end up doing nothing and then wonder where the time went once the weekend is over.

2. Get outside

Getting outside for a walk, run, bike ride or anything else that will help you get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air will leave you energized while you also reap the health benefits. Since we often don’t get enough exercise during the weekdays, the weekend is a perfect time to catch up.

3. Do schedule downtime.

One of the most tempting things to do with your weekend is to overschedule it and try to fit in All the Things. There is such a thing as too much fun though. Over-filling your time might just mean you end up harassed about activities over-running and being late for whatever’s next. The best weekends are the ones where we move at a more leisurely pace than during the week, so be realistic about what’s possible. Also, leave some gaps in your weekend and don’t feel guilty about it. Empty time is an important part of your time off. It leaves you free to be spontaneous and do whatever you feel like in that particular moment, especially to rest.

4. Allow Yourself Some Catch-Up Time

Weekends should primarily be about doing things that you enjoy and that recharge your mental and emotional batteries, but they also provide much-needed time to catch up on those things that have been niggling away at you for some time. If you can fit in a couple of jobs that you’ve been meaning to do, you’re more likely to end your weekend feeling a sense of achievement and that you’ve made the most of your time. If it helps, set a timer when you start so that whatever you’re doing doesn’t end up expanding to fill the rest of the day.

5. Don’t work every minute.

Sure, successful people work a bit on weekends, but they know that weekends are mostly about giving the brain a break. Even if you’re not religious, challenge yourself to keep a Sabbath of sorts: one 24-hour period where you don’t do any of your usual work. You may find yourself so relaxed you’ll look forward to Monday.

6. Avoid Routine

Our lives sometimes get in a rut, and we do the same old things week-in, week-out. Often this is because our jobs force us into these routines — but at the weekend, you will have time to break them. Jolt yourself into a whole new weekend frame of mind by trying something different, taking up invitations, and avoiding the thoughts of what you usually do on a Saturday or Sunday.

7. Allow yourself some weekend food

Weekend food should be a bit more leisurely than the rushed meals of the week. Try to fit in a meal at the weekend that’s a little bit more special. That doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of time in the kitchen if you don’t want to: it might just mean the whole family sitting down together or ordering a favourite takeaway.

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