5 Weekend Health Mistakes To Avoid
Many of us spend the entire workweek looking forward to the weekend (TGIF!), but when Saturday and Sunday actually roll around, we're not necessarily making the most of those precious 48 hours off.
The way we spend our weekends -- the two days of the week theoretically devoted to rest -- is often counterproductive. While the week's end should be about doing things you love and refueling for the week ahead, all too often our workplace anxieties trickle over from Friday to Saturday, adding stress to what should be a relaxing time.
And even if you're not taking work home with you, you may be unwittingly sabotaging your weekend with bad habits that can negatively affect your sleep patterns, weight loss efforts, and stress levels. Below.
Sleeping In Too Late
Weekend social schedules can demand a totally different bedtime routine compared to the rest of the week. Staying up until late at night and then sleeping in the next day could leave you feeling more tired and make it harder to get back onto a normal sleep schedule for the entire week.
There's an (unofficial) name for this phenomenon, which is "social jet lag." Till Roenneberg, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Munich's Institute of Medical Psychology, describes the phenomenon as, "the discrepancy between what our body clock wants us to do and what our social clock wants us to do ... It almost looks as if people on a Friday evening fly from Paris to New York, and on Monday morning they fly back again."
To get more out of your weekend days and avoid sleeping troubles come Sunday night, try to organize your schedule so that you can go to sleep and wake up within an hour of the time you would during the week.
The weekend typically comes with more opportunities for eating out, enjoying a few drinks or indulging in dessert than the weekdays, and your diet may suffer as a result. Taking the weekends "off" from a healthy diet may sabotage weight loss efforts and result in excess calorie intake.
One Washington University study, published in the journal Obesity in 2008, found that dieters who maintained a strict routine of restricting calories and exercising during the week tended to eat more on the weekends, thereby slowing their weight loss.
Catching Up On Work
According to Laura Vanderkam, author of "What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend," high performance also involves managing downtime properly so that you're able to recharge your batteries as much as possible. Before you settle in to your home office to spend Saturday afternoon catching up on emails, consider that prioritizing time to relax can actually make you more productive. Take a cue from Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, who makes weekend relaxation a must.
“I never do any work on a Sunday, unless there’s a crisis," Coles told the New York Times last year. "Saturday and Sunday are my days for restocking my brain, and I find if I don’t do that and I work Saturday and Sunday, I get tired. I like having Saturday and Sunday as a punctuation mark at the end of the week.”
Running Errands & Doing Chores
Instead of planning to power through your long to-do list on Saturday and Sunday, try spending 30 minutes each evening doing laundry, grocery shopping or cleaning during the week so that you can free up your weekend for more enjoyable, calming activities. Spending the majority of your weekend running errands and doing housework likely won't leave you feeling rested and refreshed come Monday morning.
"Consider doing your chores during the workweek,"
Stressing On Sunday
"Sunday Blues" can be difficult to avoid when you know you have a hectic workweek ahead of you, but you can avoid wasting all of Sunday anticipating the stresses of the coming week.
More than a quarter of employees feel dread and anxiety the day before returning to work after a day or weekend off, according to a UK mental health report featured in the Guardian. When you start feeling the Sunday blues coming on, Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., tells Psychology Today that she recommends getting active and spending time with people you love.