Your job and the repetitiveness of the ‘daily grind’ can, at times, feel like the proverbial hamster wheel. Running to the train, rushing to meetings, stressing over deadlines. It can wear you down a little.
Our jobs keep us above ground financially. But they can leave us bereft of meaningful and culturally stimulating activity needed to maintain a happy and healthy life outside the 9 to 5 bubble.
Thankfully there’s the light at the end of the weekly tunnel known as the weekend. And if planned wisely, it can not only refresh but also educate, enlighten, and lead to ongoing improvement in health.
Science has proven that just knowing we have something to do in the near future, and the positive anticipation that comes with it, releases dopamine, the pleasure enhancing chemical, before we even participate in the activity!
The release of dopamine has been linked not only to happiness and motivation, but also to health benefits like the correction of low blood pressure due to low systemic vascular resistance.
Choose a planning night for weekend activities
To kick off the planning stage it’s wise to choose one night of the week, such as a Wednesday or Thursday, to set aside time and dig into a bit of cultural research. This planning allows enough lead-in time to make any last-minute changes needed to slot in a late party or dinner invitation that may arise.
When planning is left too late, such as Friday night after a few drinks, or worse, Saturday morning, your weekend is destined to end up with holes in it. So the short time you take midweek can reap huge benefits at week’s end.
Plan your weekend by themes
One way to successfully plan your weekends is to bracket events thematically. Consider things like entertainment which can be broken down into cinema, theatre, music gigs and art exhibitions – some of which you can attend for free. Also include themes that pluck your intellectual or spiritual chord like lectures and workshops, as well as a physical or recreational requirement.
The key to choosing themes is to create a mix comprising things you already know you’ll enjoy and some that will challenge your current way of thinking or your current skill set. This way, you’re sure to come out the other end of the weekend stimulated and fulfilled.
Lock it in for a happy weekend
With so many sources to draw from, plotting your weekend is just a matter of searching for what’s on in your chosen theme. Then you just need to book or buy tickets if necessary, and put it in your diary for the ensuing weekend or several weekends ahead.
Sites like Time Out and Meetup are great places to check out everything from foreign film and food festivals to art exhibitions and craft markets, educational talks, practical workshops, and so much more.
With a little bit of planning and some creative thinking, everyone can experience health and joy with the knowledge that their hard work during the week will be abundantly rewarded each and every weekend.