Weekends can be a bit of a let-down. You’ve had a long week, so you want to relax. But there’s also laundry to catch up on, grocery shopping to do and soccer games to attend. Before you know it, Sunday evening is creepin’ up and you feel anything but refreshed for the next week ahead.
Writer Joanna Goddard recently discovered a trick to making her weekend feel longer and more fulfilling — scheduling a Sunday evening movie date with a friend.
I realised: No matter what else I do all weekend, the anticipation of a Sunday night hang — and the afterglow — stretches out each day and takes away the Sunday scaries. Instead of anticipating work, your mind is busy gearing up for an evening adventure.
Similarly, you can kick your weekend off with a solid Friday night or Saturday morning routine that helps you feel restored from the week behind you and ready for the weekend chores ahead. And those chores won’t bother you so much because you’ve got that awesome Sunday evening routine to look forward to, too.
My personal favourite way to kick off a weekend is by going to the local farmer’s market with my husband and son on Saturday morning. We each have our favourite stands and we walk around eating cheese samples and shopping for something to grill for dinner.
Of course, your favourite routine to kickstart a weekend might look totally different. I asked the Lifehacker staff what kind of weekend rituals they have in place. The most popular response was good coffee + bad TV (although editor-in-chief Melissa Kirsch opts for the New York Times crossword puzzle instead of bad TV, which is probably why she’s the EIC).
Finance writer Lisa Rowan volunteers at the local animal shelter every Saturday morning, which officially makes her the nicest person on staff. Writer Nicole Dieker tidies up her apartment on Friday nights so that she wakes up to a clean home on Saturday; meanwhile, health editor Beth Skwarecki kicks off her Friday with “porch beers” because “this week is fucking DONE and I don’t have to wake up at any particular time in the morning.”
If you’re having trouble coming up with the perfect routine, make a list of simple things that bring you joy or help you feel restored and think of ways to incorporate them into the beginning and end of your weekend.
The benefits of experiencing a happier weekend can actually seep into the work week, according to Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend. Vanderkam tells Forbes that weekends are the secret weapon in professional success.
“You need to hit Monday ready to go,” she says. “To do that, you need weekends that rejuvenate you, rather than exhaust or disappoint you. Cross-training makes you a better athlete, and likewise, exercise, volunteer work, spiritual activities, and hands-on parenting make you a better worker than if you just worked all the time.”
But Meg Selig, author of Changepower! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success, writes for Psychology Today that we also shouldn’t be afraid to switch it up once in a while. Good routines are meant to be restorative and bring joy. If they’ve started to lose their shine, it might be time to shift and try something new:
Whether a good routine is comforting or constricting may depend on what you need in your life right now—a firm scaffolding to hold you up and nourish your creativity or a renewed sense of self from opening up to new experiences.
So if cleaning isn’t doing it for you on Friday nights anymore, maybe give porch beers a try.