Another hectic work week has come and gone, leaving you in serious need of a break. At the same time, you want to maintain the health and fitness habits that you’ve been working hard at all week. In the end, you don’t want to waste those two precious days off, so how do you balance everything?
With a bit of mindful planning, a weekend can provide both well-deserved rest and the opportunity to keep up with your healthy, active lifestyle (and dare we say test your willpower at the same time?) Everyone needs time to relax, but you don’t have to sacrifice your progress to do so.
Below are five tips to help you make the most of your weekend so that you’ll be left rested and ready for another productive week.
Get together with friends for a weekend workout.
To stay on track and keep your fitness in check, it’s a great ide
a to keep moving over the weekend, despite the urge to head straight for the couch. To keep your workout exciting (and as something that you look forward to), get together with a group of your active friends. Besides the element of fun, exercising with friends can provide the change of pace you need to stay motivated. Plus, group conditioning can offer support and encouragement to help you reach your athletic goals. You and your friends can keep each other accountable for
working out over the weekend–habits that you share and develop with others are much easier to keep!
So, get the gang together this Saturday or Sunday for a fresh new workout, like a scenic hike, restorative yoga, or even a fitness class that breaks the norm, like water aerobics or martial arts. There’s no better time than the weekend to try something new! And while you have your friends together, introduce them to your local smoothie or juice bar for a post-workout treat! It’s a win-win.
Don’t forget to relax
Five busy days of work are sure to take a toll on you, whether you find yourself mentally exhausted or physically fatigued, so use one of your weekend days off to prep your overworked body for a fresh week.
On Friday evening or Saturday morning, make a mental checklist of any physical pain or fatigue that’s lingering from the week. Perhaps you went a bit overboard on the squats on Thursday, so your legs need a rest, or Tuesday’s long run has your feet feeling sore. Make time to address those issues with your favorite recovery methods (recommendations below). By consistently restoring your body after demanding physical activity, you’ll be fending off future injuries that could threaten to slow you down.
Check out this list of our favorite recovery strategies:
- Break out the foam roller or tennis ball for myofascial muscle release.
- Use the MyTens electrical muscle stimulation unit to ease pain and minimize muscle fatigue.
- Dunk your feet and legs in an ice bath to stop inflammation and speed up recovery.
- Place a heating pad on achy muscles to relieve soreness.
- Elevate your legs to improve circulation.
Over the weekend, you have time to sit back, relax, and recover without guilt–so use it! Your body (and mind) will thank you on Monday when you’re feeling refreshed.
Make meal prepping something to look forward to.
Some of us love to meal prep, and some of us do it solely because we know we should. But, whether meal prepping is a task you enjoy or not, it’s one of the guaranteed ways to keep your nutrition on track during the frenzied weekdays–and that’s not to mention the valuable time it will save you. Add some interest to your weekend meal prep by:
- Trying out new recipes.
It’s hard not to get excited by delicious ingredients and interesting recipes. Part of what makes cooking fun and satisfying is seeing the result of a new creation! Spark your appetite and let your curiosity lead you to the kitchen by incorporating at least one dish that you’ve never made before into your weekday line up. You may even discover an incredible new recipe that becomes a weeknight favorite!
- Getting friends, significant others, and family in on the action.
If cooking alone has you feeling bored or lonely, make meal prepping an excuse to bond with your loved ones. Cooking with company is a fantastic way to reconnect with the people we care about, as it provides time to have long conversations and catch up before the busy week begins. Living with a roommate or significant other? Have them select a recipe they would like to try as well and see which recipe you like
better! This will help you build your archive of go-to recipes down the road.
- Turning on your favorite music, TV show, or movie in the background.
Meal prepping can be an opportunity to take a break from day-to-day stressors and enjoy some of your favorite entertainment. Catch up on a TV series, enjoy a new playlist, or put on a movie to transform cooking from a chore to a leisure activity.
Plan to finish chores earlier rather than later.
No one wants to spend their weekend thinking: “I should really be doing chores right now.” But, the need to do laundry, vacuum, grocery shop, and spruce up living spaces is inevitable.
When you’re juggling work, exercise, and getting to bed at a decent hour during the week, chores usually get left for Saturday and Sunday.
Creating a schedule for weekend chores is one strategy to keep you from succumbing to procrastination. Just imagine: If you get that laundry done before noon on Saturday, you won’t have to think about it at all during the rest of your beloved weekend. That will leave time to do the activities you love, whether that’s an exercise session or a night out with friends, without any lingering guilt or stress from putting those necessary chores on hold.
Leave the emails until Monday
The secret to coming to work on Monday feeling prepared and inspired isn’t packing in extra work on your days off. As an ambitious professional, it may be difficult to hit the pause button on your career-related work, but, doing so is essential to staying motivated, keeping your mind fresh, and preventing burnout.
Realistically, your work may not be able to come to a full stop for two full days. If that’s the case, budget your time so that either Saturday or Sunday is entirely work-free. Balance is an important part of a healthy, happy, life, and spending too much time thinking about your job can lead to mental exhaustion.
Unplug from work over the weekend by spending time with family, having fun with friends, or just by taking a moment to breathe. Try a new local studio, spend time exploring a new town or city, whatever you do, make sure you are completely unplugged from work. Taking a step back from your work on occasion can bring you greater success and satisfaction in the long run, as well as make you a more well-rounded individual.
With a thoughtful approach to your weekend, you’ll have valuable time to refresh your body and mind all while getting ready for the week to come. The tips listed above are simple yet effective–you’ll find that they’re easy to implement and can quickly become habits. A productive and restorative weekend will be an asset to your healthy lifestyle and have you waking up energized on Monday morning.