In a dream world, weekends would last forever.
There’s nothing better than eternal brunching and beach-hopping, or binge-watching and baking for days spent indoors.
And while this perfect reality seems far from reach, experts say it’s not quite.
According to David Eagleman, professor at Standford University, the key to a bigger, better weekend is trying “new experiences and activities” along the way.
You see, when you spend time doing something different, your brain focuses more on collecting data associated with the activity (which means, you’ll fondly remember the whole experience). If you do the same thing on repeat, Sundays will blur into Mondays, leaving you to ask your colleagues over a 9am coffee, “just where did the weekend go?”
Professor Eagleman describes it best: “a routine weekend is similar to that of a long, uneventful flight – it seems endless while you’re up in the air, but once you land, you practically forget about the whole experience.”
So, in addition to swapping out your usual coffee and couch groove this weekend, spread out the joy with these five tips:
Make Fridays matter: While we all look forward to the end of the week, it’s usually so we can sit on the couch, open a bottle of wine and watch copious amounts of Netflix. According to the experts, by planning something simple and low-key to look forward to on a Friday, your weekends will seem that little bit longer. If you’re too tired to head out, then go one step further by planning something special for you, like a massage or self-pampering night in.
Up and at ‘em: One way to make your weekends feel even longer is by being awake for most of them. While it can by tempting to lounge around, especially in winter, sleeping in can take up more than its fair share of early mornings (which might make you feel as though you’ve missed most of the day). Of course, if you need the extra sleep, make sure you do so, however, rising a little earlier over the weekend might make you feel like you’ve actually had one.
Plan ahead: Being spontaneous has its perks, but planning out part of your weekend will ensure you don’t waste time sitting in traffic, waiting for a table or standing in line. Not only will doing so minimise stress, but it’ll also free up those precious hours you’ll will for come Monday.
Digitally detox: According to researchers from James Cook University, people who avoid checking their iPhones or iPads, feel less hurried, slowing down their free time. Try going tech-free (or reducing the amount of time you spend glued to your devices), to be truly present during your free time.
Be mindfully aware: Speaking of presence, being aware of your surroundings has the effect of making time slow down, according to Dr Steve Taylor of Leeds Beckett University. This could be helped by meditating, recognising and reducing so-called “time suckers” (such as flicking through channels or infinite scroll) or simply soaking up the present moment.
See ya, Sunday Scaries
– If you’ve not heard the phrase before, Sunday Scaries refers to the negative anticipation that creeps into our weekends (at the dreaded thought of Mondays). Unfortunately, by spending most of your Sunday worrying about Monday, you waste half of your weekend stressing about something that hasn’t happened yet. If Sunday’s your “doing” day, move life maintenance to another day in the week, so your weekends are free from grocery shopping, meal-prepping or general life tasks (unless doing so is a form of relaxation for you).