If you’re a life squeezer who crams the most into every moment, give yourself a much-needed break these upcoming public holidays and long weekends. Slow the pace for a few hours, put the world on hold and help yourself to a few days of pure enjoyment.
Take a home hiatus
That feeling of being a hamster on a treadmill, going from one deadline to another, is one we’re all too familiar with during the week, but sadly it often translates to weekends, too, as we continue the constant countdown to getting personal To-Do lists ticked off. Being busy all the time can result in exhaustion, so choose one day this weekend where you put all clocks away and step out of time. Try to really switch off – the world will keep turning! – and give yourself permission to just flop.
Savour the moment
If weekdays have you paying scant attention to things that seem less important, like meals grabbed on the go, try practising some mindfulness this weekend.
Bring awareness to what’s happening in your mind, your emotions and your environment. Start the day off by sitting quietly outside for a few minutes – observing the light and sounds, like birdsong, and feeling yourself be a part of the collective whole. At mealtimes, bring your focus to the sensory experience of eating. Pay real attention to the tastes and texture of the food and appreciate each bite – giving your brain and digestive system time to register the food.
Mindful walking in nature is another brilliant way to reconnect with your senses. Walk at an unhurried pace and feel the sensation of your feet making contact with the ground. Breathe the fresh air and focus on the sky, the weather and what’s around you, allowing your brain to switch off and enjoy the moment.
Tune into you
Some form of technology is with us every second of the day, making us feel we need to know about every new Instagram or Facebook update. International researchers have found that spending hours online affects our memory processes which, some experts believe, is the reason why it feels as if time vanishes so quickly when we’re scrolling through our social media feeds. Take a break from tech, work emails and the news, allowing your mind to unplug from the constant stream of stimulus.
Step out of the everyday
If you’re not going away this weekend, you can still reap the benefits of escape by breaking up your normal home routine. Put a temporary halt on your usual weekend chores to make time for fun or fulfilling activities – go out for breakfast when you’d normally stay at home, or try an online foodie class with Airbnb’s Online Experiences. Choose from a myriad of options, like a Balinese Indonesian home cooking class, or a tequila cocktail class. The whole family can join in too, with experiences such as a Harry Potter London virtual tour or an interactive giant panda experience.
Free up your mind to relax
If you can’t help but notice all the many little home tasks that need doing around the house, give yourself a mental break by making a list of minor repairs, then resolving to get them fixed within a certain time period.
The act of making the list will free up your mind to relax. Having a list of things to fix in your home that never actually gets done is akin to having unfulfilled goals and can make you feel demotivated. A study from Wake Forest University in North Carolina showed that, while tasks we haven’t done distract us, just making a plan to get them done can free us from this anxiety.
For a list of professionals to help you get chores done, try SweepSouth’s Connect app, which lists professionals in your area, like handymen, plumbers and electricians. The app also has a useful image recognition feature that lets you take a photo of a household area or broken item so that it can identify who is best suited to help fix the problem.
Pump up feel-good endorphins
Exercise helps your body to relax and deal with stress, and boosts your overall sense of well-being by pumping up feel-good endorphins. If the thought of having to go out to a gym to exercise is too much though, create a dedicated workout space at home.
Exercise equipment can be expensive, so trial a product first before you buy it. Teljoy, for example, allows you to rent a treadmill or Angry Fit box gym that you can use in your designated workout area. The benefit of renting this kind of equipment versus buying it is the flexibility and affordability of having access to it for as long (or as little) as you want with the option to own it after a predetermined period or cancel it at any time.
Beyond this weekend, try to incorporate some of the above into your daily life, to prevent slipping back into the kind of rushed life where days blur into months, and then seasons. Make it an ongoing priority to carve out pockets of time where you consciously relax – allowing your mind to feel calm and renewing your focus to enjoy what each day brings.