Not everyone can take a vacation. But they can do this.
Aaaaaah, the weekend. You survived another week of working, commuting, and remembering everything required to stay alive, whatever that may entail. Congrats. Now it’s time to relax, right?
It seems like it’d be that easy. More often than not, though, we spend weekends doing even more work and can make ourselves prone to guilt when we do take extra time to relax. Which leads to more stress, which makes us want to relax even more, over and over, you get it.
Saying “I can’t Sunday night, that’s when I do ______” feels way better than you can even imagine.
So how do you let yourself sleep in (or even just lounge about in bed) on a Saturday morning without feeling bad? Habitual feelings of guilt can involve reprogramming in the brain, but the good news is it’s within reach. The first step includes prompting conversations with yourself; maybe you can even try brainstorming from bed. We won’t get too ambitious yet.
Reflect on the past week
Find a time each week to gather your thoughts, ideally outside of your working hours. What did you accomplish? What was tricky about it? What made you feel good? Practicing reflection can feel new when we are more prone to go-go-go, but can serve as an excellent reminder that you may deserve a break and might be busier than you realize. These notes can include any number of personal, emotional, and professional achievements. Notice if any remaining tasks or responsibilities could lead to Sunday Scaries, unfinished business, or anxiety? Becoming aware of any lingering stressors can help ease guilt or expectations you may feel that can also prevent you from simply chilling out.
Make realistic to-dos for the weekend
So you’ve reviewed this week, and what remains. Which tasks need to be done this weekend? What can wait? Avoid overcommitting and leave space for you to relax. Be realistic and yes it’s okay to write stuff down just so you can check them off.
Rethink your priorities
Relaxing in bed is worth enjoying, and taking breaks from patterns of work is worth practicing. We’ll always have things to do, but overworking and stressing typically distracts us and makes getting things done take even longer with more effort. Practice getting clear about what can wait for Monday (and also not rushing to stuff unreasonably).It’s pretty wild how often we put physical, and emotional health on the back burner for efforts less important than we think.
Read more: What’s a normal amount of Sunday anxiety?
Create a healthy routine
Whether it’s laundry every Saturday afternoon, a facemask every Sunday night, reaching for a book or newspaper before screens during weekend mornings, having memorable rituals to work into a habit over the weekend can help you feel productive and functional. It may feel nice to have small habits instilled in your weekend to work more flexible, fun or work hours around. Saying “I can’t Sunday night, that’s when I do ______” feels way better than you can even imagine. And it feels so “put together.” Not that that really matters.
Long story short: Give yourself a break
This is the desired result of all of the above more tangible suggestions. And it may initially feel a hell of a lot easier said than done, but taking steps toward lessening guilt and expectations can help you really lean into enjoying yourself. You may notice that letting yourself have a lazy day actually boosts your productivity, so sleep in peacefully.
You got this.
Artwork by CHRIS MARTZ