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Weekends with a difference

09 June 2022

For many, that glimmer of light at the end of the working week that we call the weekend is what keeps them going. The long slog from Monday to Friday that is rewarded with two days of freedom can seem like an eternity, followed by Saturday and Sunday which all too often can disappear in the blink of an eye.

Weekends have long been a treasured time, a small period where we can do as we wish without the constraints of our working lives hanging over us. But they can also become mindlessly repetitive when we pass robot-like through the weekend without really pushing ourselves to do anything different.

And before you know it, Monday is here again, and the cycle recommences without you ever really feeling like you’ve had a proper weekend. Here are five ideas for a weekend that will shake up your Monday to Friday and hopefully leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Take a trip

One of the best ways to break out of the repetitive weekend cycle is to simply take a trip. Where have you wanted to go for ages but have continuously put it off? Maybe a European city break or even a couple of days camping - it doesn’t matter where you go, as long as it’s different and somewhere you want to go.

It can be all too tempting to tell yourself that you feel tired at the end of the working week and so should slowly vegetate in front of the television to recuperate, but there are many ways that the body can get what it needs to feel rejuvenated and travel is certainly one of them.

Travel has been shown to make us feel happier, relieve stress and anxiety, and even boost creativity. Yes, some of it can be physically tiring, but the trade-off is always worth it.

Challenge yourself  

Is there anything worse than waking on Monday morning and feeling that you achieved precisely nothing over the weekend? The odd lazy weekend can certainly be beneficial, but it shouldn’t become the norm.

In comparison, a Monday morning when you can look back at the weekend safe in the knowledge that you challenged yourself to the very extreme and overcame adversity, will give you a buzz quite unlike anything else.

So how should you challenge yourself? That depends on you and what you’re interested in, but physical challenges tend to work best. It could be something as simple as running further than you ever have, swimming to that distant point that you’ve always stared out at, or even having a loved one drop you off 30 miles from home and walk back.

To take things even further, the Japanese practice of Misogi involves pushing yourself miles beyond your comfort zone once or twice a year to see what you are truly capable of.

Join a Club

It can be all too easy to plan to join a club without ever actually joining a club. The idea of doing something different is often easy and comfortable, while the process of doing it, in reality, is very different.

Joining a club or starting a new hobby can be hugely beneficial, helping us to make new friends, increase knowledge, and perhaps even fitness depending on your activity. It doesn’t really matter what you do, whether it's a knitting club, photography group or a fell runners club, you will gain plenty from them and almost certainly feel much better about your weekend.

Be a tourist at home

Perhaps jetting off to an exotic city every weekend isn’t an option, but perhaps you can find somewhere closer to home - much closer. Over the last decade, there has been an increase in the popularity of the so-called ‘home tourism’ where people become tourists in their own city or wherever they’re from.

How many times have you walked past a tourist site at home and thought to yourself that you’ve always meant to go inside but just never got around to it? The truth is that most of us take our homes for granted, but there is always plenty on offer, it’s just about changing our mindset slightly.

Consider booking a hotel room, even if it’s only a few miles from your home. Waking up in a new place is always a treat and certainly adds to the experience of ‘being away’ while still very much being at home. Think about where tourists go when they visit the area and what sights or places you’ve long wanted to go to but always put off. Perhaps even splurge at that fancy restaurant that you’ve always told yourself was too expensive.

Whatever you choose to do while you are a tourist at home, make sure you don’t follow any of your usual patterns. If you find yourself walking into your regular pub, try somewhere you’ve never been. If you feel the urge to go into Homebase to see if they have those new shelves you really need - don’t. Remember, you’re on holiday.

Conclusion   

Weekends can be both a blessing and a curse. A wasted weekend where you feel like you’ve done nothing will leave you feeling low come Monday morning as you contemplate yet another lazy end to the week.

On the other hand, however, a weekend that was able to leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed will provide you with a wonderful base from which to start the week. Too often weekends become dull patterns and this can have a serious impact on our mental health. If you want to feel great on Monday, shake up your weekend.