How to make your weekends work for YOU!   The work week can be tiring and when the weekend finally hits many people are not sure what to do with their time. Some try and get even more work done while others completely check out until they step back in the office Monday morning. Studies have shown that humans need a break about every 5 to 7 days or else their productivity, focus, and creativity can suffer. A break does not have to mean laying around in your sweatpants for two days and sometimes working through the weekend is unavoidable, but here are a few ways that you can enjoy your two-day break while still being productive.

The most important thing to understand about the term “break” is that this does not just refer to taking a nap or watching TV all day. A break can be anything that is different from your daily routine. Saturday and Sunday are days designated for your enjoyment and spending time the way you want to, but do not waste the free time you have been given.

  1. Take away some personal errands that you would have to run during the week: getting your oil changed, buying groceries, cleaning your house, going to the doctor, etc.
  2. Do something physical that will allow you to move around and work muscles that you do not use at work: go to the gym, hike a trail, play a round of golf, etc. Anything that will get you moving and out of your second place of work: your house (because sometimes even home can be stressful and tiring).
  3. Have social interaction, and preferably it should be with people outside of your workplace. It is great to be friends with your coworkers but try and spend time with non-work friends. These are the people that you can talk about kids, sports, politics, or basically anything that does not have to do with the project you are on.

This does not mean you cannot have a weekend routine, just make sure whatever you do that it is separate from your weekday activities; its important because different activities cause other pathways in your brain to fire and exercise places not normally used. This can make you a better well-rounded person and actually help your work abilities.

Admittedly, there are many positions where people worry if they do not know what is going on at work. It is perfectly fine to read your email over the weekend, but DO NOT ANSWER IT. Many people find it beneficial to read it on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, so they can prioritize what they do on Monday.

A bonus activity to do on the weekend which will make your work week so much more productive is to meal prep. Go to the grocery store and buy ingredients to make some of your favorite meals that you can refrigerate and pop in the microwave as needed. This means less time spent eating out, eating fast food, or not even eating at all. Prepared meals mean no more late nights coming home from the office where you are too exhausted to make anything besides cereal or a frozen pizza. Also, this is a great helper for working parents! Have snacks prepared ahead of time for when the kids get back from school, do lunch prep so you are not up late at night making their sandwiches, or make and freeze some casseroles that you can cook in the oven when you get home from work. This will ease the strain on your already limited time at home and help you to stay healthy while being kind to your wallet.