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Winning Weekend Plans

Last updated on May 14th, 2023 at 12:35 pm

It’s Fri-yay!  Six must dos for an amazing weekend plan. 

“I wasted the weekend.” “How is it Sunday night already “All I did was work all weekend.” “Weekends suck, all I do is clean my house.” “Weekends aren’t fun unless you have money.” Do you experience these weekend spoilers?

All of these feelings rob us of truly enjoying the gift of a weekend. That sounds super cringey, but it’s true. When we do not live fully in the present moment, or when our internal critic speaks to us constantly about what we should be doing, it’s a real buzzkill. It’s time to make a weekend plan.

The reality is not every weekend will be a winner, but there are a few things you can do to make your weekend plans rock. I’ve rounded up six ideas that can help you get more out of next weekend without stressing yourself out. 

  1. Take a look at the week ahead.
Woman writting in planner and looking at calendar

Wait, what?  Yep. I’m telling you, before you turn the computer off or head out for the weekend, make a new ritual. Block a couple of hours, every Friday morning if possible.  Look at next week, and the projects, tasks and meetings for which you will need to be prepared.  If there are items you can get out of the way now, do them.  If there are items you need to hit right away on Monday morning, put these top of your list for Monday morning so that you aren’t spending Monday morning (or worse, Sunday night) in a frazzled state, feeling like you’re already behind before you’ve started.

  1. Vacation Mode–Plan, just a little.

When I look back over the weekends that left me the most unfulfilled, it’s usually those where I had no plans at all.  I’m definitely not telling you to bust out your planner and fill in all the timeslots for each day, I’m just suggesting to have a goal or two.  It’s completely fine if that goal is to catch up on lost sleep, I’m not here to judge.  Just deciding what you want out of the weekend can leave you feeling more satisfied when you look back on it in the rear view mirror on Sunday night.

Woman reading book in robe on bed

Planning can also mean being deliberate about putting yourself in Vacation Mode. When we go on vacation, there is that shift, right?  You can feel it as soon as the suitcase hits the car–you get in and bing, there it is–Vacation Mode.  But, did you know it’s okay to flip that switch anytime?  Give yourself permission.  

If you don’t already have one, create a Friday night ritual.  Some have a tried and true happy hour routine, but something I recommend as a more subtle switch, if you are able, is to turn off your work email and calendar on your phone so you aren’t even tempted to take a peek.  For many of us we can’t do this every weekend, but I promise, not getting the continual Pavlovian reminders of emails and meetings popping up can be amazing!  One of our rituals during spring, summer and fall is to kick off a weekend with a fire in our firepit.  We get around the fire, talk about our week and just enjoy the sights and sounds of the fire and being outdoors.  A couple of weeks ago we were nearly silent, just watching the fireflies.  

Planning for me, looks like this.  I decide about a book I want to read or listen to.  I decide on some errands or even chores I want to get done.  I think about a fun way for my family to spend time together.  B.C.(Before COVID) this might have also included getting together with friends.  For instance, this weekend, our family plans to rent a pontoon boat and get out on the water together for swimming and relaxing.  

It doesn’t take spending to get into Vacation Mode.  Reading, playing a game, watching a movie, baking a cake, taking in an outdoor concert, all of these things can be great, free ideas to plan.  But, if you do have some money to set aside, perhaps consider your “vacation budget”–it might get you into the mood even more!

  1. Get some rest.

On the flip side of weekend plans, give yourself permission to rest.  In today’s over-planned world, taking a nap may seem lazy. For me, I relish going out to brunch on Sunday morning, and then having a big fat nap on Sunday afternoon.  Can be twenty minutes or an hour, I don’t care.  It’s what you want and need in terms of rest and when you put it as a goal it feels better right? 

Woman taking a nap on a lounge chair outside.

There are some official suggestions about napping (of course there are, right?) and the experts at Mayo Clinic, say to aim for ten to twenty minutes and don’t nap after 3 pm.  Listen to your body, if you wake up feeling groggy or worse off than when you started, don’t!  On the other hand, naps offer a lot of benefits such as more energy, improved memory, lower blood pressure and improved mood.

It doesn’t have to be a nap. Spending some time relaxing and reading or with another hobby that allows you to zone out a bit, may be another way to get some rest.  I like to lay on a hammock and read, listen to Audible or a podcast or even knit. 

  1. Spend time in nature.
Woman laying on grass outside with branches of pink flowers on top, "earthing or grounding."

Spending time in nature is good for us.  A study of nearly 20,000 people published in 2019 in Scientific Reports gives some guidance.   The researchers observed the point at which spending time in nature starts to really reap benefits–two hours a week.  Being active in nature apparently scores higher rewards, but any time outdoors is better than nothing.  

Plan a hike, do some gardening, get out on the water, take a walk or just veg out in your hammock in the sunshine for a while.  Whatever it is, adding friends or family doubles up the benefits with some social connection. 

A fairly far-out there concept is the idea of earthing or grounding While I’m sure as hell not going to make myself a lightning rod, walking barefoot, getting in the water, or lying in the grass in the park are things I’m always game for.  Where we live, there is not a lot of light pollution, so one of my favorite things to do on a warm night is to lay on the grass in our yard and look up at the stars.

  1. Eat great food.

Eating wholesome, real food is another gift you can give yourself on the weekend, whether you make it yourself, order it in or if it’s safe to do so in your area right now, go out to dinner.  Since we live in a small town in rural Minnesota, our area hasn’t seen much in the way of COVID (yet), so we have on occasion gone out to a restaurant in outdoor seating to enjoy a meal on the weekend.  

If you’re doing the cooking for the weekend, keep it simple! Part of your Friday plan may be to pick up some ingredients for a couple of special meals.  I recently made this recipe for a Summer Quinoa Salad and it was to-die-for paired with some steak, and it was less than 25 minutes from start to finish.  I also love to make an easy dessert and there is nothing easier than some rich ice cream topped with some fruit preserves or classic chocolate sauce and some raspberries.  Whatever food you decide to whip up, make it a favorite so it feels like a special “Vacation Mode” treat.

In the end, a weekend is what you make of it.  One thing for sure, doing one or all of the suggestions above will make your weekend better than that uneasy feeling of having wasted a weekend.  Happy Weekend! 

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