And there you go again, another Monday, or Tuesday, and all you can think about is how fast the weekend flew by. You had high hopes but by the end realized that you accomplished little and fell, once again, into the same routine. You find yourself waiting for next weekend. And then, find yourself in the same experience once again. So, what is the key to a fulfilling weekend? How can we make “that feeling” last longer? In this blog post we would like to give you some tips on how to trick your brain into perceiving the weekend as feeling longer than it actually is while having a blast and enjoying every minute of it.
According to David Eagleman a professor at Stanford University and the author of The Brain: The Story of You, a routine weekend is similar to a really long, uneventful flight; “It seems endless while you’re actually in the air, but once you land you practically forget about the entire experience”. If you do the same routine every weekend, you won’t remember much about your days off come Monday morning as your brain is “used” to this routine, so to speak. Let’s say, you go to the same pub with the same people every Friday, spend your Saturday doing chores and then go for a family dinner on Sunday…it will feel like the weekend flew by because you weren’t giving your brain new data to collect and incorporate. This explains why long weekends often seem like so much more fun in comparison to regular weekends; not just because of the extra day off, but we often decide to go camping, explore festivals, or do something we haven’t done in a while.
Here are some strategies for ways that you can trick your brain into perceiving the weekend as being longer than it actually is:
- Plan ahead – Instead of absentmindedly saying that you’ll do things on the weekend, actually put plans in motion such as confirming a dinner date with a friend, preparing for a weekend getaway, or signing up for an activity; for many, not planning ahead can mean that the activity does not get done.
- Try out new activities – Breaking from your routine and engaging in new activities causes your brain to focus on collecting all the details of the new experience, in turn creating a more thorough memory; some examples include taking in a new exercise class, trying out a new recipe, doing a home improvement project, or catching up with friends that you haven’t seen in a while.
- Explore new settings – Switch up locations and settings; check out a new neighbourhood, walk a different trail, golf at a different course, or check out a festival, as your brain will perceive these new experiences as longer and more exciting.
- Limit the sleeping–in – If you tend to sleep much of your weekend away then it is no wonder that it goes by so quickly! Give yourself a little time for extra rest but try to get up at a reasonable hour to seize the day…PS. Don’t hit snooze!
- Limit chores – Yes, we are recommending limiting your weekend chores because, quite frankly, they are boring and monotonous. Instead, try to keep up with your chores during the week (for example, do a load of laundry each evening) so that you can spend your weekend doing more meaningful activities…of course, all the while recognizing that some prep for the week ahead is necessary.
- Make the most out of Friday evenings – The end of the work week for many can be synonymous with exhaustion and it is easy to order take-out, slip into your PJs, and zone out in front of the TV. Instead, experience the start of your weekend with a friend or your spouse having a drink at a new location, eating at a new restaurant, or taking in a movie (VIP theatre with food and drinks, anyone?).
- Prevent the Sunday night blues – Sundays, and particularly Sunday evenings, can be extra-depressing in anticipation of the beginning work week; perk your Sundays up with an activity to which you can look forward rather than spending all evening doing prep/chores for the week to come; some things that come to mind include hitting up a coffee shop (with delicious desserts, of course) or taking the pooch to the dog park.
- Reflect on “new” memories – When you spend time reflecting back on your new experiences, it feels like you experienced it for longer and a weekend can seem like an entire week.
The good thing is, making your weekend feel longer isn’t as difficult to put into practice as it sounds, especially when you live in a vibrant and festival rich city like Edmonton. You don’t need to fly to Africa or drive a race car on a Sunday morning; you simply need to make some plans that exist outside of your everyday routine and switch things up a bit. Here are some local resources:
- Local getaways and day-tips from Edmonton: http://edmontonjournal.com/travel/100-mile-do-it-blow-your-mind-with-a-day-trip-from-edmonton
- The best places to eat in Edmonton: http://www.avenueedmonton.com/Restaurants-Food/Best-Restaurants
- City events, including festivals: https://www.edmonton.ca/attractions_events/schedule-festivals-events.aspx
- Walking trails or bike rides: https://www.edmonton.ca/activities_parks_recreation/parks_rivervalley/river-valley-trail-maps.aspx
And, the list goes on and on! So, go out and explore…plan your weekends but don’t obsess about them. Make sure you leave room for some downtime and relaxation. And, if you want to be at home all weekend in your PJs, then read a book you have never read before or watch a new TV show. Implement these tips and feel the weekend becoming longer!