How to make your weekends longer

Weekends never seem long enough. Whether it’s a regular two-day weekend or a long (but still short) three-day weekend, free time flies by much faster than workdays.

Although there is no magic way to Actually extend each weekend, there are ways to take advantage of the free time and, therefore, make your weekends more fulfilling.

According Dr Mike Sevillafamily doctor at the Family Practice Center in Salem, Ohio, weekends are even more important than you might think.

“People need physical time and space to relax and recharge their minds and bodies after a long week at work,” Sevilla said.

Tracy Dumasassociate professor in the Department of Management and Human Resources at The Ohio State University, added that “any work disruption, [whether] holidays, weekends or even after work in the evening, is extremely important for recovery.

Recovery, Dumas added, is a “term used by organizational psychologists to capture the concept of replenishing resources depleted by work exertion” – much like athletes need to recover and take days off afterwards. tough workouts.

Here, experts explain how to optimize those recovery days and make the most of your free time:

Schedule some of your time.

“You can make the most of your weekend by planning activities you enjoy,” said Park Alayna L.assistant professor of psychology at the University of Oregon.

She noted that creating a specific schedule for your weekend can help you pursue the activities you want to do. That way, you won’t walk into Sunday night feeling disappointed with the activities you did (or didn’t do).

Think about it: you’re much more likely to take that long bike ride if you rent a bike ahead of time or coordinate a ride with a friend. And while planning things out doesn’t physically extend your weekend, having things to do (that you look forward to) set can make you feel like you’ve maxed out your time.

And, there’s another benefit to making plans ahead of time: “Making pleasant plans ahead of time can also give you something to look forward to during a hectic work week,” Park said.

Limit your screen use and find a hobby.

It’s quite common to feel like time flies when you sit down to watch an hour-long show or scroll through Instagram. Studies show that people who spend a lot of time on social media can experience a distorted sense of timeoften wondering how it happened so quickly.

Watching social media or watching TV on weekends is okay, of course, but you should try to limit it. According to Sevilla, taking a break from watching TV or scrolling through social media is a good way to reconnect with things that make you happy on your days off.

“Consider going back to a hobby you did before the pandemic, like walking or reading,” Sevilla said. “Or, better yet, challenge yourself to try something new.”

Spend your free time learning activities that you find rewarding.  This way you will return to work feeling rejuvenated.

John Fedele via Getty Images

Spend your free time learning activities that you find rewarding. This way you will return to work feeling rejuvenated.

Do activities that are different from your daily job.

“Engage in activities that draw on a completely different set of resources than your job,” Dumas said.

In other words, if your 9-to-5 job is very technical, spend the weekend doing an activity that draws on different skills, she advised. This could mean playing a musical instrument or trying kickball.

On the other hand, if you work in the arts industry, you might want to skip activities like writing or creating on your days off and try something completely different. This way, you won’t be reminded of work when you’re trying to enjoy your weekend.

Put the work aside.

Let work be something that happens on weekdays, not your free time.

According to Sevilla, it is important to promote the distance between you and work during the weekend. Worrying about work wastes those precious weekend minutes that could be spent with friends or family. “Keep work out of sight and out of mind can help make the weekend a bit longer,” Sevilla said.

That might mean turning off your work phone, disabling your work email, and even putting away your work laptop so you’re not reminded of an impending deadline while you snuggle up on the couch.

Planning outings with loved ones is an expert-recommended way to make the most of your weekend.

filadendron via Getty Images

Planning outings with loved ones is an expert-recommended way to make the most of your weekend.

Find a balance between going out and resting.

According to Dumas, “Rest is important, but staying on the couch or in bed all weekend isn’t as helpful.” If you spend too much time resting all weekend, time will fly by really fast. When was the last time you lay down for a quick nap and woke up two hours later?

You’ll feel your peak when you combine that well-deserved rest with an activity you find enjoyable or challenging, Dumas explained. Specifically, engaging in mastery activities, in which you learn something new, will help you gain more energy.

Plus, if you find these activities rewarding, you’ll come to work on Monday energized and in a better mood from your great weekend experience, Dumas said.

Stay in the moment.

It might be easier said than done, but if you stay in the moment on your precious days off, you’ll have a more enjoyable weekend. In reality, studies show that some people who practice mindfulness and continuous meditation experience time at a slower pace.

If your mind starts to wander to an email you sent last week or an upcoming meeting, Park suggested grounding yourself in the present moment.

“You can ground yourself anywhere and anytime using your senses,” she said. To do this, start by naming five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste, she said.

“Once you’re back in the present moment, you can intentionally move forward with things that bring you a sense of joy,” Park said.

And who doesn’t want to feel a sense of joy throughout a slow-motion weekend?

Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to the practice of Dr. Mike Sevilla in Oregon. It’s in Salem, Ohio.

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