Every summer, like the roses, childhood returns.
For many of us, this weekend kicks off a cherished hallmark of summer:
The holiday weekend.
Be it rest and relaxation or high-energy activities with friends and family, the holiday weekend can be an excellent opportunity to recharge and reconnect with yourself and the people around you.
But, if you’re not careful, it can also set you up for feelings of resentment, disorientation, and overwhelm when you return.
Today we’re sharing 3 simple strategies to help you enjoy a holiday weekend without sabotaging your routine:
Plan your return
One of the best ways to ensure you’ll actually enjoy your holiday weekend?
Planning ahead for your return.
(But, before you start groaning, read on. This doesn’t have to be painful!)
It really comes down to taking a few practical steps, so that you can rest your mind over the holiday weekend. Confident that you’ll be able to transition back to work, school, etc. with ease when the time comes.
(And not a moment sooner.)
- Plan to be away. Really away. Set your email auto-responder. Alert your clients and colleagues. Create a plan for how and to whom questions/issues should be addressed in your absence. Then (and this is, hands down, the hardest part)… practice mindful detachment as you unplug from all work responsibilities.
- Be proactive. How’s your email inbox looking? Any loose ends you can wrap up before you leave? Calls to return? Chapters to study? One last load of laundry to fold and put away? If you’re feeling tempted to leave it all til after the holiday weekend, try closing your eyes and asking yourself, “What can I do today to make life a bit easier for future me?“
- Structure your first day back. The thought of easing slowly back into “real life” after a holiday weekend can be alluring, but by setting firm boundaries around your time, you’ll actually be more motivated to enjoy the time off. So, rather than rolling in late on Tuesday, set your alarm 30 mins earlier than usual. Brew a pot of coffee or tea, stretch your body, take a few minutes to feel gratitude for the break you enjoyed. And then get after it!
Embrace the unstructured
Another key to making the most of a holiday weekend is knowing when to let go of structure.
Once you’ve done your part to plan ahead for your return, the challenge is to relax into the weekend, trusting that all will be well.
Depending on your personality, this part will come all too easily.
Or it may be more difficult than you’d like.
But, just as planning ahead allows you to fully enjoy the unstructured time away…
…embracing the unstructured enables you to return from the holiday weekend free from burnout and resentment.
So, give it a try!
- Leave room for impromptu fun. If possible, aim for a comfy balance of planned and unplanned time. Decide what’s important to you and the people you’re spending the holiday weekend with, and prioritize those plans. Then, just allow the unplanned time to remain unplanned, so you can simply show up and see what plans unfold!
- Throw some rules out the window. This weekend, maybe bedtime is whenever the fireworks are over. Maybe breakfast is an ice cream sandwich. Maybe your typical workout routine is replaced with a dance party in the kitchen or a run through the sprinklers. Some rules we create for ourselves are just begging to be broken. And now’s the perfect time.
- Savor, savor, savor. The sounds, the smells, the tastes and textures. The feeling of sun on your skin. Even the itch of a mosquito bite (or 30). The moments of connection and endless opportunities for mental snapshots. This is the stuff holiday weekends are made of. Keep your eyes and ears open, and take it in. Let yourself feel grateful.
Loosen your expectations
The final key to making the most of your holiday weekend is, ironically, to let go of the pressure to MAKE THE MOST of it.
Because, really, it’s not that serious.
You have the gift of time “away” (…even if it’s right there in your own home).
You have the gift of time with loved ones (or perhaps the gift of solitude).
And that’s something worth celebrating.
Everything else is just details. Loosen your grip on them.
- Expect the unexpected. No doubt, you’ve made some plans for the holiday weekend. And no doubt, those plans will change. Do your best to roll with it. Your emotional wellness (and that of your companions) will reap the benefit!
- Leave the perfectionism behind. Maybe you finish that book you brought along, maybe you don’t. Maybe you end up teaching your kid to fish, maybe he cries when he sees the bait. Maybe you end up making that cake from Pinterest with the sugar-dusted strawberries in the shape of a sparkler, maybe you buy a box of cookies at the store. Remind yourself: There is no perfect way to enjoy this weekend. Repeat as necessary.
- Quit the comparison game. Your weekend is your weekend. Your neighbors’ is theirs. If you find yourself pulled out of the present moment by feelings of envy, restlessness, or lack, take a few minutes to gently bring yourself back. Find something– anything– around you that brings you joy or contentment. Remember that the happiness you experience is largely within your control. Choose to feel happy.
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Need some help bringing more enjoyment and balance to your holiday weekend?