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Top Ten Tips for Making the Most of that Weekend



If you have a normal working week from Monday to Friday, you will always look forward to the weekends.  But do you make the most of that forty eight hours or does Monday roll round again and you feel that nothing extra has been achieved?

We share some ideas on what to do on your days off:

1.  Enjoying some alone time

If you have been surrounded by people during your working week, it might be helpful to spend a little time completely alone and preferably in silence, giving you time to process your thoughts, relieve any stress and check in with yourself.  Such a time can interrupt that almost robotic stress mode that can overtake you, allowing you to settle back into your body and mind.

2.  Swapping scrolling to something paper-based

Today it has become so easy to waste hours scrolling on your phone.  Make the weekends a time when you can put down the phone (and social media) and pick up a book or magazine to calm your nerves and rest your eyes from all that flashing imagery.  Your body will enter into a more relaxed state than it does when checking work emails and more...

3.  Enjoying a swim or engaging in movement

Swimming is a great way to exercise and even absorb vitamin D in the warm sunny months to leave you energized and healthy.  Swimming is one suggestion but any kind of movement is great. 

Exercise improves all cognitive functions: your memory, attention, creativity and mood.  The immediate effects come from the brain getting more blood flow - said to increase by about twenty percent during exercise. 

It can be sport, walking, gardening or anything that involves movement with the brain counting every step.

4.  Eating a mindful breakfast

You might wonder what a mindful breakfast is!  It is one that is slow and relaxed unlike an often rushed affair during the week. 

Ensure your weekend breakfast includes a source of protein and healthy fats.  Examples include a smoked salmon and greens omelette with a side of probiotic-rich kimchi and sourdough bread.  Or it could be pancakes made with eggs, banana, oats, milled flaxseed and almond flour topped with fresh berries with full fat Greek yogurt.

5.  Having a proper family meal 

Family life can often be really busy and even relentless.  Try to use the weekends to have a "reset" day where demands and expectations are low and you can spend time together without too much pressure.

The weekend is often the ideal opportunity to enjoy a family meal together, sitting round the table with the phones turned off! 

6.  Socializing with friends

Take the opportunity to meet up with a friend or a group of friends.  It can be a simple cup of coffee together, a walk in the sunshine or a more organized event. 

Social connections are very important for mental health so if you can make time for a social connection, it will give you a boost after a long week of working.

7.  Think about lifting weights

 After you turn forty, you start to lose muscle - said to be five pounds per decade - unless you actively work at gaining it.  Make the choice to preserve and build muscle and the weekends could provide the opportunity for this along with eating plenty of protein.

8.  Catching up on admin and chores

It is always helpful for peace of mind to be on top of admin and chores.  If you can achieve this at the weekend, it will help you to start the week in a better place helping you to feel a sense of achievement and more positive.  Getting the chores done will help to promote a clear mind.

9.  Planning for the week ahead

In the same way, planning for the week ahead is something else that can be done at the weekend, making a list of things to do and working out where they can be slotted in.  Another idea is to plan a menu for the week, ensuring a balanced diet and no waste.

10. Finally, giving yourself a dose of positivity

TJ Power is a neuroscientist and author of a forthcoming book "The Dose Effect"   The goal for the weekends is to do one or two activities for each of the primary four brain chemicals - dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphin (D.O.S.E.). 

  • To boost the dopamine (the motivation chemical) the home is cleaned.  Cleaning is good for boosting dopamine levels.
  • To boost oxytocin (the love chemical) time is spent socializing with friends or family, actively listening during conversations, making eye contact and having a hug. 
  • To boost the serotonin (the mood chemical) get outdoors into nature, removing the headphones and immersing the brain in the sounds of nature and...
  • To boost the endorphins (the de-stressing chemical) get in some physical movement such as walking, stretching, going to the gym or even having sex which are all excellent for boosting endorphins, ensuring the brain feels much calmer.



The Dose Effect: the new self help guide for 2024 teaching you how to hack your mental health for a better, happier life : Power, Tj: Amazon.com.au: Books

IDF23-0352 Association between weekend catch-up sleep and cardiovascular disease risk: Cross-sectional study - ScienceDirect