1. Read a book. Reading is a great way to escape the ordinary for a little while or to learn something new. And if you have kids, you can spend time together while reading to each other. Read books you already own or take a trip to your local library or bookstore.
2. Write a gratitude list. When we’re stressed out or everything seems to be going wrong, it’s easy to forget everything that’s going right. Jot down a list of the things and people you are grateful for to put things back into perspective.
3. Sign off social media. How soon after you wake up do you check Facebook to see what you’ve missed? How often do you compare someone’s “perfect” social media life to your own? Logging off of social media once in a while is healthy because it allows you to take notice and interact with the world around you.
4. Take a walk. You may as well go out and get some air while you’re on your social media break – without making a status about it. Fresh air cleans your lungs and improves your heart rate. Sunlight causes your brain to produce more of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. And physical activity improves your mood and your health.
5. Listen to music. Turn up your favorite music and dance. If you’re embarrassed, close the curtains so no one can see you. Dancing to music is another fun way to stay active. And research shows that even if you’re sitting still, music makes you happier, lowers stress and reduces depression.
6. Get dressed. It may be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, but don’t. Having a day off and not getting cleaned up and dressed really does a number on my mood and makes me feel sluggish. It’s kinda like, if you look bad, you feel bad. And you’ll be more likely to get out of the house if you’re already dressed.
7. Pamper yourself. You may forget to take care of yourself while you’re taking care of business. Spend a day pampering yourself. Go get your nails done or to the spa. You can even do it at home. I recently showed you how to make a DIY sugar scrub for soft skin that you can find here.
8. Talk to a friend. Sometimes you just need a vent session or to have a good laugh. Call up a friend on the phone or set up a lunch date. Having at least one good friend can be mentally and physically beneficial, according to Oprah Magazine.
9. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment – paying attention to the sights, smells and sounds around you or the sensations, emotions or thoughts you are feeling. Doing so boosts your focus and working memory and reduces stress. There are lots of free apps that can help you get started, like Calm and Headspace.
10. Say no. I am busy all week, so the weekends are when I try to catch up on everything I need to do. Housework, homework, social activities. But when I pack my weekends too tight it just leaves me exhausted when Monday morning rolls around. Don’t feel like you need to achieve everything in your downtime. Say no to things that aren’t urgent. Do you need to accept that invitation? Can those loads of laundry wait? Strive to actually get some rest.
How do you plan to take care of yourself this weekend?