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The cycle continued every week…you’re so excited on Friday because the weekend has rolled around again. While you may think of spending that entire time relaxing, you more than likely have a huge list of things to do and places you need to be. Yes, life is busy, but there are ways we can set ourselves up to get some much-needed recovery time and prepare ourselves for the week ahead. So, here are a few tips on how to use your weekend the way it was intended.

Utilize your free time throughout the week

While your work week schedule may be pretty busy, there are a few ways to utilize your time through the week in order to get things done around the house. If you cook dinner every night for yourself or the family, why not try slow cooker meals. They’re quick and easy and cut down your cooking time each night. You can cook a full meal, soups, or your main dish and just add a quick and easy side when you get home. Or use 1 or 2 nights to meal prep or double or triple your recipes so lunch and dinner is already done for the rest of the week. This frees up more time each evening to either take care of some other must-dos or to just enjoy so you don’t need the weekend so desperately.

If you find yourself cleaning all weekend trying to make up for doing nothing around the house all week, try using that extra time each night to get one room or one task done. Whether its cleaning a bathroom, mopping the floor, or a doing just one or two loads of laundry, doing one thing each evening when you’re already up and moving can mean you get to sleep in on Saturday instead of rushing to clean the house each weekend.

Set boundaries for anything work related

Depending on your job, this may be difficult, but it’s definitely achievable. While you may be receiving work emails that need attention, unplug from work as much as possible. Unless it’s truly a requirement of your job, most things can wait until Monday. But if you absolutely must work, do it strategically. So instead of reacting every time you get a notification, set a certain time each day you’ll check in on work stuff. The rest of the day is yours. It’s also important to set clear boundaries with co-workers as well as your boss. Make sure you let them know that in order to do your job well, you need time to take care of yourself on the weekends.

Go with the flow: We tend to feel as if everything we do needs a schedule that’s set in stone, even when it involves our free time. While you may have events to attend like a birthday party or social outing, try your hardest to allow yourself just to be. Have you ever woken up on a Saturday and realized you had nowhere to be and the day was TRULY yours? It’s one of the best feelings ever.

Learn to say no: While socializing with our loved ones and friends can be therapy in so many ways, overscheduling yourself on the days you should be resting is exhausting. Don’t spread yourself too thin. If you already have plans and get invited to another event, don’t feel like you have to find a way to make it work. Say no. These events are meant to be fun and enjoyable, not you rushing from one place to another, never really being able to relax. It’s okay to say no, or “I already have plans”, even if that plan is you relaxing on your own.

When there’s no way around it, get it done: Sometimes having a to do list on the weekend is unavoidable. Generally, those to-dos drag along with you throughout the weekend as you put it off again and again. When you have things to get done on the weekend, try to get them done as soon as possible, so you don’t have that weight on your shoulder anymore. Then you really can just enjoy your weekend.

 While the weekends may be your favorite part of the week, be sure you’re using them wisely and taking advantage of every second you have to take care of you. Get that well-deserved downtime…you’ve earned it.

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