Last fall, I read Happier Hour (and then re-read it again in January for the Everyday Reading Book Club) and one of my biggest takeaways was to treat weekends more like vacation.
That resonated so much with me – I want to be relaxed and present on the weekends and have them really feel like a weekly reprieve from the busyness of regular life.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean I don’t have responsibilities over the weekends – kids, house cleaning, errands, etc – but I AM trying to focus on making sure I have fun and recharging weekends to the extent I can within my normal life.
Of course, the thing about a great weekend is that “great” is different for every person.
For instance, when I asked on Instagram for people’s best tips for how to make your weekend better, one response said, “Don’t sleep in! Get up and get busy!”
But for me, one of the best parts of the weekend is that Saturday morning is my one morning that I can sleep in because I get up early to workout the other days of the week. The idea of setting an alarm for Saturday morning feels like it would RUIN my weekend.
Another person suggested having very simple, no-cooking Sunday dinners. For me, one of my favorite weekly traditions is making a nice Sunday dinner, complete with goblets and cloth napkins and sparkling cider.
So what makes a weekend great for me might feel awful to someone else and what feels delightful and fun for you might be a major downer for me.
Which means the only person who can really decide how to make the most of your weekend is YOU because you’re the one spending that time.
So if some of these weekend suggestions don’t work for you, put those aside and make your own weekend guidelines!
Here are some of MY best tips for making the most of your weekend:
Tips for HOW to make the most of your weekend
- Get clear on what makes a great weekend. It’s hard to make a plan when you have no idea what you really want out of a weekend. Do you want adventure? Relaxation? Time with friends? A clean house? Date Night? Exercise? Make a little list of the things that would make a weekend really feel great to you (and if you want extra credit, label them as “every weekend” or “most weekends” or “a few weekends a year.” You might love doing a day trip on your weekends but not EVERY weekend and that’s helpful to know!).
- Think about what ISN’T working with your current weekends. If you end the weekend feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, dreading Monday or exhausted, try to identify what’s going wrong. Are chores taking up too much of your time? Do you want to go out but don’t plan ahead to make that happen? Do your kids get restless with no plans or grumpy about too MANY plans? Are you and your partner on different pages about what you want out of your weekend? The more you can clearly identify what’s making your weekends NOT feel like vacation, the easier it’ll be to tackle that problem.
- Make plans ahead of time. If you get to Saturday afternoon and you want something fun to do that night, it can be tricky to make it happen on that short of notice. Set aside 10 minutes earlier in the week (we like Sunday afternoons) to get a babysitter, invite someone over, find movie times, or make a dinner reservation. Plus, you get even more benefit when you plan ahead because you get not only the fun of the activity but also the fun of anticipating it. For most of us, we don’t need (or want!) a dozen things on our weekend calendar, but one or two fun things to look forward to really helps the weekend feel more enjoyable.
- Start the weekend fun on Friday. Stretching the fun into Friday night means you’ve already gotten some good weekend vibes going before you open your eyes on Saturday morning. In our family, a Friday adventures works well and also pizza and movie night every Friday. Those might not be the ways YOU want to kick off your weekend, but a Friday ritual of whatever appeals to you is a great way to start the weekend on the right foot!
- Set a time limit on chores/work. The thing about housework and other chores is that they can expand to suck up basically all the time there is. And nobody is living for a weekend that’s mostly scrubbing toilets and cleaning baseboards. Try setting a time that you’ll be done cleaning or running errands by and it’ll force you to prioritize what most needs to get done. I also find that when my kids have a clear end time for cleaning (plus something to look forward to AFTER the cleaning, they’re much more motivated to get it done instead of feeling like it’s just going to suck up all the time they give it.
- Manage your screen time. MANY people mentioned that they try to unplug on the weekends so they can be present with their family or friends and so their whole weekend doesn’t get sucked away by tv or Instagram. Some people unplug from Friday afternoon until Monday morning, while other people use the Forest app to block out a few hours of uninterrupted time throughout the weekend. Play around with different things and see what works for you.
- Be realistic about your current stage of life. You may want to go out for a 10 mile hike but you have a toddler. Or you would love to go out to a fun dinner, but the budget is too tight to make that feasible. Every stage of life is different and someday you won’t be working around nap times or paying off student loans or whatever is tricky right now. Make your weekends work for what your life looks like now. Maybe that’s visiting new playgrounds in your city with your toddler or having friends over to play games and eat cookies after kids are in bed or scoping out free events in your area.
- Get outside. Some fresh air makes ALL the difference in mood (for both adults and kids!) and fitting some of that into your weekend almost always makes life a little better for everyone! We love a family bike ride, skiing, a Sunday walk around the neighborhood or playing croquet in our backyard.
- End the weekend strong. If you’re prone to the Sunday Night Scaries, put something fun on your calendar for Sunday. It could be a nice Sunday dinner or watching a favorite show with a snack at the end of the night or hosting a little game night or snuggling up with a good book – whether it’s big or small, make sure Sunday doesn’t feel like a slow slide into despair that the weekend is nearly over.
- Set yourself up well for the coming week. It’s a high price to pay if your weekend is super fun but then you enter Monday exhausted and unprepared. I try to make my Sundays fairly low key but I do like to get my groceries ordered for Monday morning delivery, go over the schedule with my husband so we know what’s coming up for both of us and our kids in the week ahead and get to bed on time on Sunday night so I’m ready to roll on Monday morning.
What are YOUR best tips for a great weekend? I’d love to hear (and I’ll likely steal some of them!)
Everyone in my family has 2 X Saturday jobs. They are small, 5 minute jobs that get done weekly and so are never that bad. One is a tidying job, and one is a cleaning job. This keeps Saturday chores to a minimum. It’s doable and regular.
(The kids’ jobs are: a) clean the back door glass and clean out anything that got left in the car this week b) wipe over the kitchen cupboard doors and tidy up anything that got left on the patio this week c) tidy and sweep our front door stoop and wipe over the microwave and d) refill toilet paper rolls in both toilets and clean out underneath your bed)
And then we enjoy our weekend!
Sara Johnson says
I have been struggling with making my weeks run well and these tips are very applicable to my situation as well! This came at a great time for me, so thank you very much!
Melissa Wilhelm says
This is one of my favorite posts you’ve made over several years and I appreciate you sharing because weekends are something many of us have in common! Highly relevant and customizable-thank you!