Before work obligations crept into our precious Saturday and Sunday weekend vibe, I lived for Friday nights. Friday nights marked the beginning of rest and recuperation that only a weekend could bring. Maybe for some of you, Saturday and Sunday are still your honored weekend days, and if you’re as lucky as I am, you might find that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are your weekends now. Anyone else out there have a “working weekend” life? It’s not so bad, right? Grocery shopping on a Wednesday gives you first pick at the freshly stocked produce that’s just been delivered. Luckily, even when the weekends are work days at our house, I look forward to Fridays. There’s just something about that day of the week that sends signals of rest to my psyche. Whatever days of the week you find yourself celebrating “the weekend” you’ve got to seize the moment. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you wasted the weekend. Now I am not suggesting that you need to go spend all your money on fancy weekend excursions and outings. You can have a fun filled weekend without spending more money. Here are five tried and true tricks to help you make the most out of your weekends and not break your bank account.
#1 Create a special weekend tradition
The pandemic has forced us to spend more time in our family unit at our homes and I don’t know about you, but after a few months of the same ‘ol same ‘ol we needed something to change things up during the weekends at our house. After much deliberation, we decided to invest in a property that we could visit on our weekends. It was a huge risk financially, but it has become a ritual for our family to go to this special space together. The four of us get to enjoy uninterrupted quality time together. It feels empowering as parents to have created this family weekend tradition.
Weekend family traditions are the means with which you too can start cultivating quality time every weekend with the people you love the most, your family. You do not have to go buy a weekend house. You can easily enjoy special moments with your family at your own house every single weekend with just a little bit of effort and planning. When I was a kid our weekend routine was to go to church every Sunday. It was a fairly simple tradition, but I distinctly remember that when we skipped church it just never quite felt like a Sunday. It was our weekend routine and I have very vivid memories of church with my family members. Some traditions, like going to church on Sundays, involve outside entities and organizations, but not every tradition has to involve anyone outside the home. For example, you could decide to make a special breakfast meal every Saturday morning. I know a family that makes pancakes every Saturday morning no matter what. They let the kids mix the batter and they get to watch their dad flip the flapjacks. Sometimes they even add chocolate chips or sprinkles. Another fun tradition you could start is family game night on Sunday evenings. You can find a deck of cards at Dollar Tree on the cheap if you don’t have any fun board games at home. There are also several cell phone apps that you can download for a dollar or for free. One I’ve used before is called “Heads Up” and it is super duper fun with the college/teen/tween age group. For those of you with preschool or elementary aged kids you could start a Saturday night picnic tradition. Spread out a blanket in your living room, indulge in finger foods, and watch a movie together. You get the idea I think. There are so many ways to make the weekend special. With a little effort and a lot of love, a fun weekend tradition can fit into anyone’s budget.
#2 Spend time doing something independently
Independence is liberating. I treasure my alone time. When I don’t have kids clinging to my arms asking for something, I like to do home improvement projects. In fact, just last weekend I finished painting my living room and my hubby took the kids outside so I could have some independence as I finished up this project. Independence naturally builds self confidence. It helps you maintain your uniqueness and your identity. So snatch up a small chunk of time to do something independently on your weekend time. Your friends and family will reap the benefits of your independence tenfold. Socializing is a great way to spend your weekend time, however it can be exhausting. For some socializing can even feel like a chore. The weekend is a great time to catch up on your independence. There’s no doubt that you’ll bring more to the table after you’ve had time to yourself. Anything counts for this solo time; choose something that brings you that one of a kind euphoric feeling of joy: exercising, sewing, knitting, reading, listening to your favorite music, crafting, writing, home improvement DIY. It all counts! Now go get your hobby on friends.
#3 Experience your community
During the pandemic we all realized the importance of our communities. I'm so happy I was able to connect with like minded women on a virtual level that is becoming an empire. (Ask me about my community) Local services and amenities became critical to our existence during the quarantine. Through all of the tough times over the past year or so, we have, I think, realized how necessary a strong community atmosphere is to our well being. Now that many communities are reopening their doors and regaining some normalcy in their operations it is more important than ever to support our local amenities. The good news is that we are all on the same page about the fact that health and safety is the first priority. With this in mind, there are countless ways one could check this box during the weekend. Many community amenities from which to choose are low cost or free and most of them offer you an opportunity to get outside and experience nature. A growing field of research called eco therapy indicates that there is a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety and depression. The research says that spending time outside in nature just 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a week is enough to reduce stress as long it is happening on a regular basis. Spending time in your neighborhoods on the weekend is a perfect, cost friendly addition to your weekend routine.
Here are some ideas for your upcoming weekend agenda:
Bike ride on a local trail or through your neighborhood
Visit a local park and go for a hike
Walk the neighborhood with the whole family
Visit a museum or local landmark
Take the kids to a new playground
Sign up to be on a local sports team
Attend a community event
Support local businesses/ organizations through volunteer work or patronage
#4 Take an intentional break from screen time
For those of you who look at a computer screen to complete your job tasks day in and day out, it might not feel like a weekend if you don’t take a break from screen time. I know it is tough to put away all things digital, but do yourself a favor and try, at least on your weekends. If it can only be for a brief period of time, then so be it. At our house we have the on-call factor haunting us so it’s not possible to tuck away the work phone in a drawer and not peek at it every now and then. I think even if you have responsibilities that require you to be on-call it is still possible to have boundaries with screens especially on the weekends. For example, at our weekend property we have a rule that we are not allowed to be on our screens during any meals. It’s a seemingly insignificant boundary too set, but it serves its purpose and it guarantees that quality time together at family meals on the weekends. Family meals are so important to mental and physical health for both children and adults.
Nutritionally, families who eat home cooked meals together have diverse food presences and consume less calories, sugar, salt and fat, while at the same time they consume more fiber, protein, fruits and veggies. Kids who grow up having family dinners tend to eat more healthily when they are old enough to be out on their own and fewer of them struggle with being overweight. Try, try and try again to put down the screens for an intentional time on your weekend. Monday morning you will thank yourself.
#5 Do at least one productive thing
Like it or not taking something off of a “honey do” list can fill you with satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment that you can carry into the upcoming week. What is considered “productive” can be up to you. We all have a chore list that we would prefer to be shorter before another busy week begins. These items are not always fun, but getting at least one of them completed will definitely bring you that one of a kind “I am awesome” weekend vibe you desperately long for on Monday mornings. It doesn’t have to be extraordinary. Mundane tasks are also productive. Chores as simple and ordinary as doing a few loads of laundry, grocery shopping, or mowing the lawn count. You could get more fancy by organizing your coat closet, cleaning the garage or repainting a room in your house. Whatever the task is that you choose, own it and celebrate it. You can even use the momentum to roll right into the next item on your to-do list, or just STOP. You probably did enough to feel accomplished after just one task. Doing nothing, but chores on the weekends won’t last, so don’t be afraid to stop after just one. Don’t forget to celebrate your weekend productivity. Yay you!
Weekends have so much potential. This is your reminder that you have everything you need to make the most out of your weekends in your back pocket. An awesome weekend does not have to drain your bank account. All it takes is a little effort and a lot of love. Let me know if you try any of these ideas or have any cool weekend traditions already in place. I am always looking to add to my own weekend repertoire. Enjoy your upcoming weekend friends!
Kelly Hater, owner of Mama Bear Domain, has over 15 years of coaching experience along with a B.S. in Health Promotion specialized in Exercise Science.
She specializes in helping clients overcome mom burnout, providing a clear, decisive plan that leads her clients on a path of success. Her clients no longer let mom guilt steal their identity and goals. Moms deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life. She personally has overcome overwhelming struggles herself. Get the accountability needed to take action. As a mom of two she gets it. Get your E-Book Mom, Open Your Eyes to Self-Awareness.
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