Why I Plan My Weekends Like I Plan a Vacation
Anyone else feel exhausted lately? Like you just can't catch up? That's how I felt all week this week, despite having a much lighter schedule than usual. We just finished state testing at work and boy, was that stressful and awful. I feel like we're constantly talking about it but, man, this terrible spring weather isn't helping. Last Saturday was such a perfect taste of summer on the east coast, but what happened?
Whatever the cause may be, the weather or the work doldrums, it's leaving me feeling drained. Whenever I get like this I know it's time for a reset.
My favorite sort of reset is, of course, vacation. Isn't it everyone's? Escaping from most of your responsibilities, eating delicious meals that you don't have to cook, and getting inspiration from all the new things around you.
The thing is, taking a trip isn't always possible when you're a teacher. Or anyone else who's vacation time is "scheduled" for them. A quick weekend away is fun and all but my budget doesn't account for weekly or even biweekly or even monthly trips out of town. And I can never seem to put off taking care of our house, grading papers, or some other responsibility for too long.
So recently I started to make a mindset shift. It went from viewing my weekends as two days off to viewing them as "vacations". Not vacations in the traditional sense, but a break from the routine. Even if I can't get away, I'm making the weekends more enjoyable, relaxing, and vacation-like with a few simple changes.
Don't wing it; plan it out.
I'm going to be very honest: I love to plan. Whether I follow through or not on the plan, I love making it (working on that follow through thing, I promise).
Having a plan or even an idea of a plan is strangely soothing to me. For a long time I thought that, in order to have a truly relaxing and restorative weekend, I shouldn't plan a single thing. Just let it go and whatever happens, happens. That was a BAD idea. Instead I felt like I wasted two days watching Netflix and eating terrible food.
There's no shame in being a planner. Knowing what you're going to be doing can be incredibly relaxing. I'm able to balance the more boring tasks, i.e. vacuuming the house, with more exciting things, i.e. date night at new restaurant in Philly.
Making the mundane more exciting.
Let's get real about "adulting" for a minute: you can't always put everything off until tomorrow. Okay, you can but then you're left with a monumental to-do list. Believe me, I'm the queen of "can't this wait until tomorrow?".
Most weekends you have to get things done. Like that return to Target that I've been putting off for a good two weeks now. So why not make those errands and mundane tasks more enjoyable?
If I'm out running errands, I'll head through the Starbucks drive-thru to pick up a chai tea latte for the ride. Or if I need to scrub the bathroom, I download an episode or two of a blogging or true crime podcast to get me through it.
Allow small moments to become self-care moments.
My favorite part of any vacation is the small moments where you get to take a big, deep breath. You're not rushing from place to place but can instead take a look around and relax. Like having a drink by the pool or reading a book in the coziest armchair. Those moments fill me with such happiness.
Despite whatever things have to get done during your weekend, there are always small moments that you can take a deep breath in. Unlike the often hurried weekday mornings, I try to keep calm and slow weekend mornings. That can mean an extra cup of cinnamon roll coffee and sitting in my favorite reading chair. Taking a few moments to scroll through Instagram and enjoy it. Painting my nails and watching an episode of Glee.
Don't forget: it's the weekend!
One of the things I'm perpetually guilty of is letting my to-dos pile up until the weekend. When you're exhausted from long days at work the last thing you want to do is to spend the evening running errands. But in order to actually live your weekend like it's a vacation, you have to plan in some weekend activities.
Tackle that stack of books you've been meaning to read. Plan a day out in a city. Go out for dinner with friends, your significant other, your family, yourself. Explore a new-to-you brewery, museum, or small town. Take your time to actually enjoy the weekend.