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Many of us plan our weekends around doing all of the things we don’t have time to do during the week, like cleaning the house, going grocery shopping and catching up on TV shows we missed during the week. Half the time the chores get thrown out the window because you’re too tired to get anything done after a long week, but either way the weekend is a bust. If you really want to feel refreshed on Monday morning and ready to take on the world, take into consideration the findings of a study showing that in addition to eating and relaxing there are 6 categories of things everyone should be doing to get the most out of their weekend. Be sure to get in one activity for each category and let these ways help you to de-stress!
Social Networking: Being out with a friend or friends is one of the biggest causes of happiness. If you have plans over the weekend bring a friend or 2 along, even if you prefer alone time. Studies show that spending your time and money on experiences rather than material things makes us happier. Material things sit on the shelf while you get used to them very quickly! Take a cooking class or head out to the local comedy club, you’ll enjoy it and feel like you did something fun and exciting.
Feed Your Soul: A 2008 study in the Journal of Economic Psychology says that faith and prayer, regardless of religion, satisfy the need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Volunteering has the same effect if you aren’t into the religion thing. People really get a lot of pleasure from helping others. Meditation or restorative yoga can change brain structure in a way that promotes a sense of well-being. Doing any of these things will lift your spirit and have you feeling good!
Break a Sweat: Exercising, especially outside, has more benefits than you can imagine. Exercising encourages the release of feel-good endorphins and helps you feel like you’re doing something great for yourself. People who exercise feel more energetic and are more inclined to keep at it. The more you exercise the more clear your mind will be, so schedule a nice long walk or a bike ride and get those healthy endorphins moving!
Compress Your Chores: If you have a super long “to-do” list ready for the weekend, cut out 2-3 hours to get some of the things done. Don’t overwhelm yourself with chores and stress out over getting them done, it’s not worth it. Prioritize your list and get the things that can’t be put off done and leave the rest for later. Enjoy your time off!
Uplug: Sociologists from the University of Maryland have found that unhappy people watch 30% more TV than very happy people. Limiting web surfing helps too, since that includes checking work email for so many people and no one likes the stress of work during their time off.
Rethink Sunday Night: Plan one of the above activities for Sunday night before you get into the slump of dreading things that may go on during the week. Many people suffer from Sunday night depression thinking about the week ahead, but if you do something fun or something to clear your mind you won’t have time to worry your mind with negative things!