How to master the quiet weekend – with zero guilt

Font Size:

Ever asked a colleague, ‘What are you up to this weekend?’ and they reply, ‘Nothing really, it’s going to be a quiet one’, to which you add, ‘Ooh, that’s nice, sometimes that’s just what you need, isn’t it?’

And it’s true. It is just what you need – sometimes.

Sometimes a quiet weekend is an absolute gift, a much-needed chance to relax and recharge.

But sometimes a quiet weekend can feel like a punishment, another cruel reminder of how empty time can feel if you’re a little lonely or isolated.

As a (self-appointed) self-care ambassador, I’m a huge fan of the quiet weekend – when no plan is the plan, you’re in no hurry at all and fully intend to spend the whole day pottering, sipping tea and dipping in and out of whatever you fancy on TV (and loving every second of it, thank you very much). But I’ve come to realise that mastering them can be challenging – and those challenges very much depend on where you’re at personally at any given time.

But I want to be busy …
There’s comfort and validation in being busy, needed and in demand – but, of course, there’s also a tipping point; learning to recognise the signs and carve out space to relax is the challenge.

On the flip side, not being busy, needed and in demand can be sad and frightening – finding meaningful ways to fill your time and avoiding soul-ache becomes the challenge.

But, whatever our circumstances, there are steps we can take to try and master quiet weekends.

Recognise where you’re at
The first step is to acknowledge what you are at – with zero guilt – and don’t be tempted to compare.

If life’s been mega busy, you’re frazzled and would give anything for a break from the grandkids/neighbours/errands, then that’s where you’re at. If life’s been really slow and boring, your love life and plans have dried up and you’re feeling pretty crap about that, then that’s where you’re at.

It’s not about whose grass is greenest, or who’s got it hardest, or justifying your needs by how they compare to others. “No-one is immune from struggle, it’s often just the nature of that struggle that is different,” says psychologist and health coach Suzy Reading (suzyreading.co.uk).

Social media, of course, feeds those self-comparison habits. But, ‘Doctor of Happiness’ Andy Cope, co-author of the new Happiness: Your Route Map To Inner Joy, points out that we “know social media’s not real”.

“You go on holiday – you don’t put all your grotty photos on there, do you? You post your top five photos,” he states. “Stop comparing yourself with others; compare yourself with yourself – how could you feel a bit better or happier than you did yesterday?”

All about the context
If quiet weekends have lost their joy – because, frankly, you’ve had your fill, or your empty diary is filling you with dread and self-doubt – then some reframing might help.

Of course, sometimes life is tough, with periods of loneliness, health battles or changes in circumstances, and there’s no shortcut to getting out. But if it’s just a question of struggling to fill weekends, Dr Cope says sometimes we all need to step out of our comfort zone. “If you haven’t got a partner or family, then weekends can be a bit of a drag. You do need to force yourself sometimes, go and make yourself do things.”

A decade spent researching positive psychology and happiness has taught him a few things. Dr Cope points out that, as humans, we need meaningful connections with other humans – but don’t fall into the trap of feeding social media connections more than real-life ones, because they’re not the same.

Don’t add too much pressure and be kind to yourself – putting yourself out there can be daunting – but taking a few small positive actions will help transform how you approach and view your time.

“If another quiet weekend fills you with dread, get proactive on using that time for something you find uplifting,” suggests Ms Reading. “Make plans you’re excited about. Use the solo time to devour podcasts, music, creative pursuits, or take an online course and expand your mind.”

The self-care factor
“The art is in the mindful choosing of how we fill our time and the lens through which we view our circumstances. It’s about identifying how we are feeling and using this time as our self-care,” adds Ms Reading. “A quiet weekend at home can be delicious, especially when life is usually full and weekends are often spent rushing from one engagement to the next. Equally, we can fritter away a quiet weekend unless we put a ring on that time, check in with how we are feeling and mindfully choose what we do. A quiet weekend can be deeply restorative.”

But this deep restoration won’t happen if you don’t let it – so learning to prioritise self-care is important. It’s self-care that allows us to keep juggling the balls of life effectively and with longevity. It’s self-care that increases our sense of ownership of who we are, and which ultimately leads us to feel as fulfilled as possible.

The best thing about quiet weekends? You make the rules. Boxsets, baking, organising your bookshelf… Cinema, coffee shops, a walk… You decide. It’s not what you do with the time that counts, but doing it with purpose – and if that purpose is simply to savour the slowness and quiet, then we salute you!

Are you a fan of the quiet weekend or do you prefer to be busy? What’s your go-to activity when you have a bit of time to yourself?

– With PA

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

Join
By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy

RELATED LINKS

How to transform your home into a luxury hotel

Unpack your bags, and follow these tips to turn your home into a multi-sensory space.

Seven tips for mastering the weekend getaway

Longer doesn't always mean better, or more relaxing.

How to have a staycation

For the ultimate holiday on a budget, discover how to have a staycation.

Written by Abi Jackson

0 Comments

Total Comments: 0

    FACEBOOK COMMENTS



    SPONSORED LINKS

    continue reading

    COVID-19

    What we know about the recently approved single dose vaccine

    Some health experts have expressed concern at the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with some stating that we 'only get...

    Retirement Income

    'Secret plan' to force retirees to use their home to fund retirement

    Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has backed the Retirement Income Review findings that retirees should use their savings more "efficiently" -...

    Finance

    Do life insurance payouts affect the Age Pension?

    Geoff's death policy pays out to his children, not his wife. How does this affect the pension? Q. GeoffMy wife...

    Fitness

    Grip strength linked to mental disorders

    Mental disorders such as anxiety and depression can increase physical health risks and are a leading cause of disability. Globally,...

    News

    Cucumber and Pineapple Salad

    Whether it's for a barbecue, taco, burger or chilli con carne, our Cucumber and Pineapple Salad will pep up your...

    Finance

    Tobacco and childcare drive cost of living increase

    The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.9 per cent in the December quarter. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics...

    Age Pension

    Retirement system ‘uncertain for almost all retirees’

    Australia, a nation of almost four million retirees, has one of the world's best retirement systems. The 2020 Mercer CFA...

    Finance

    The big question: How much do I need to retire?

    Life expectancies continue to rise, and with that comes a host of challenges. For governments, there's the increasing cost to...

    LOADING MORE ARTICLE...