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7 Steps to a Mindful Weekend

During with week, we’re busy with work and family commitments and our to-do lists can feel never ending and at this time of year, the pressure can feel even greater due to all the demands and preparations needed for Christmas. As the week goes on, we view the weekend as destination, but by the time we finally cross the finish line at 5pm on Friday we’re too tired and exhausted to enjoy it. So, this weekend why not try and make a commitment to nurture your wellbeing, with these steps to help you fully switch off and relax.

1. If you have chores, consider how you do them

Sadly, housework doesn’t stop just because the weekend begins. If you’re planning on having a relaxing weekend, then creating a new to-do list full then may not help.

Try adopting an attitude of ‘good enough’. If the thought of tackling the skyscraper size pile of clothes in the washing basket seems too daunting, then try breaking it down but doing just one load a day and folding/putting it away the next day.

If the house needs tidying, then you could break it down by room or prioritise the rooms that are essential for relaxation, such as the living room and bedroom.

It might help to set yourself a time limit. If you had just one hour on a Saturday morning to do everything, what would be the essential things that needed to be done? What could be set aside for when you have more energy?

2. Rest mindfully

Remember, mindfulness is the act of maintaining awareness of the present moment, without judgment. This most definitely includes banishing self-critical thoughts that you should to this or that.

When asked what you did at the weekend, how often do you reply remorsefully ‘not much’ the regret and shame noticeable in your voice. What’s wrong with doing nothing? Who says we have to busy every second of the day.

If your body needs to rest, then let it rest without judgement, without feeling guilty. Spending a Sunday afternoon spent watching films isn’t unproductive. It’s your body’s opportunity to rest and relax. We don’t need to be busy all the time, as humans we’re not designed that way.

So, in fact that afternoon watching films might be the most productive thing you do all week.

3. Keep to the same sleeping pattern

A weekend lie in can feel like the ultimate prize after a busy week, but those extra hours in bed may not have benefits that you think it does.

Studies have shown a connection between irregular sleep patterns and low mood and generally recommend trying not to under or oversleep by more than 90 minutes.

If you find it difficult waking in the morning, then it might be worth examining this more. Is it because you’re tired from not getting enough sleep at night, or could it be more to do with the feelings of burnout and the dread of facing another stressful day? If it’s the later, would things be different if had a day full of fun and self-care ahead of you?

4. Move gently

The link between exercise and wellbeing is something that many of us can voucher for. It doesn’t mean that you need to sign up for a Saturday morning spin class or a Sunday Parkrun though, especially if these types of exercises aren’t your thing.

Gentle movement, like walking or yoga is a great way to take care of both your body and your mind. Also, if you spend a lot of time sitting down, hunched over a computer screen, this is the perfect opportunity to stretch out and give your body the gentle movement that it needs.

If you don’t have a yoga class near you, then there are plenty of free classes on YouTube.

5. Eat mindfully

Hands up who during the week rushes to eat their sandwich or salad so they can carry on working. We’ve all done it and when work or life is busy eating on the go is an easy trap to fall in to. At the weekends allow time not only for eating but also for cooking. Bring your conscious awareness to think about what you’re going to eat. As you choose your meal, shop for the ingredients, and start to cook, each step is an opportunity to be mindful.

See that task as an opportunity to set and intention and ask why you are preparing the food. Are you seeing the preparation as a chore or as an opportunity to be creative? Can you become aware of your mood and accept it as it is without judgement? How hungry are you and how aware are you of the sensations of hunger in your body?

Once your food is served, engage all your senses as you eat. Notice the colours, smells, sounds, textures, and flavours. By eating mindfully, you restore your attention and slow down, making eating an intentional act instead of an automatic one.

6. Reconnect with your values

When we are rushing around at 100 miles and hour, it is easy to forget about what really matters to us.

Whether it’s thought meditation, creating vison boards, journalling or quietly reflecting – take a few months to thinks about the values that are most important to you. Are you living in accordance with them? Do you feel fulfilled? If not, are there any steps you can take to better meet those needs? If you are unsure how to explore this, then start with these questions.

Where do you want to be in a week, a month, a year’s time? Sometimes to look forward, it can help to look back so ask yourself what your happiest memory is. What are you like when you are alone, what is your real authentic self like? How would you describe yourself in one word?

7. Do what brings you joy

This might be a hobby that you get totally absorbed in, losing all track of time, or spending time with a loved one after a week of rushing around. Maybe there is a self-care practice that brings you joy – cooking yourself a favour meal, a luxurious bath, journaling, reading, or just having some quiet time to yourself.

This time is yours, so whatever it involves, try to make sure that you fill it with joy this weekend.

Practicing mindfulness isn’t the same as doing mindful mediation. You don’t have to sit on a mat, focusing on your breath while trying to keep your thoughts in the present. The aim of mindfulness is not to quieting the mind or to achieve a state of eternal claim. The goal is simple, to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement whatever you might be doing. Pick one or two things from the list above and try to incorporate them into your weekend.


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