Take time to recharge your brain and body
Your weekend contains precious hours to de-stress and recharge your spirit and body. Using simple tools like laughter, setting boundaries and meditation, you can stop the negative effects of unchecked stress. The most successful people know to work hard and relax hard.
Coming home isn’t relaxing if you feel like your weekend must be spent scrubbing, tidying, sweeping, organizing and shopping. You work hard, and it makes sense to use your resources to increase your happiness quotient.
A large research study found that hiring someone to help with life’s chores increases the quality of life for the participants. This was true for people across all income brackets. The study indicated that buying time is as effective at increasing happiness as having more money. So, at least occasionally, hire someone to vacuum under the fridge and clean the bathrooms, and allow yourself to relax.
Setting firm boundaries between yourself and your work is important to manage your office’s expectations as well as your own. Set your email and text to auto-respond, saying that you will be available on Monday. For the most part, this will help you avoid the distraction of work-related tasks that pop-up on Sunday afternoon. Of course, there might be times where these boundaries need to be relaxed. But placing them allows you to obtain more mental distance between the stress of work and the relaxation of the weekend.
Laughter is an amazing antidote to stress. There are laughing yoga classes where the participants are coached to belly-laugh. They do this simply for the health benefits of laughter. Laughter releases feel-good hormones throughout your body and boosts your immune system. A good laugh can feel as cleansing as a good cry. Try a hilarious movie, a laughter-based class or a You Tube tutorial on conscious laughing.
Do something new
Trying something new doesn’t have to be a large adventure. It can be as small as driving a new route to your grocery store or playing a new card game. Navigating new activities of any kind stimulates brain growth and is great for sharpening your wits. It’s also good for a jolt of that youthful feeling that life is full still of surprises and unknowns. Learning a new language, eating at a foreign restaurant or even getting your coffee in a new part of town can relieve stress and produce happy, contented feelings.
Connection is important for human health – both physical and mental. Find time on the weekends to connect with people you care about. If you don’t have someone close you can see, there are other options. Joining a group that shares similar interests or concerns is a great way to meet others. If you are interested in the environment, for example, you might try a beach-combing club. And who says connection has to be with people? Perhaps you’d rather volunteer at the local animal shelter. Their dogs and cats need regular snuggles, walks and playtime.
Make a plan – not the detailed kind of planning that might stress you out. These are simple plans that give you something to look forward to. You might schedule a luncheon with old friends a few weekends in advance. Plan a trip to the beach, an overnight weekend stay downtown or a long day at a local bookstore. Whatever it is, the brain responds to thinking of fun plans by releasing happy hormones. Help your brain associate the weekend with relaxation and fun.
The benefits of meditation are legion. Good for your heart, your immune system, your brain, your mind – meditation is a panacea. And you don’t have to do much to get these results: five or ten minutes a day can create positive change. A routine of meditation can start producing good feelings immediately, although others find that the benefits take a few weeks to accumulate. It’s a proven and simple action you can take to help yourself shake off the stress of the week and truly, deeply relax.
Putting some of these ideas in place will help you transition from your busy week to a rejuvenating place of calm. Try this meditation for “Inner Peace” to bring you into a peaceful, more present state as you start to enjoy your weekend.