Plan your Saturday and Sunday
We need to be much more intentional about what we’re doing during the week and at the weekend, says King. Whereas before, we were able to go with the flow – spontaneously head to the pub with friends or have an unexpected brunch meet – things are different now.
The idea of no routine on the weekend may be enticing, but it also a recipe for either not doing anything, doing too much of one thing, or having your Saturday and Sunday blur into the week, says Paul Dolan, professor of behavioural science at LSE and author of Happy Ever After and Happiness by Design.
What are you going to do on the weekend that’s different to weekdays? Walk to a different park? Do a different exercise? “The real danger is that people let the weekends drift, with each day starting with good intentions and ending with nothing getting done,” he says. “If you want to do something that will make you happier, you have to make a plan about how best to implement your intentions.”
It’s also okay simply to catch up on sleep – that’s what weekends are for, right?
Keep kids busy and happy
That last point might have made you scoff if you’re a parent or carer. Weekends with kids are a different proposition, of course. But a lot of these points apply to families, too. It’s healthy to differentiate the week from the weekend for children.
That probably means setting aside the school work you’ve been trying to get them to do all week and enjoy some family time – plus run off some of that pent up energy that’s been building up in a safe and socially-distanced way.
Or if you’re feeling exhausted, here are some creative ideas to keep them occupied indoors that require little to no energy on your part.
Eat well – and differently
Is your weekday breakfast porridge with banana? Change it up on the weekend and have scrambled eggs, instead. Or, just up your breakfast game in general to give yourself a weekend treat. Consider getting a takeaway on Friday or Saturday from a local restaurant if they’re offering them, seeing as you can’t go out to eat. Or cook your favourite dinner to mark the beginning of the weekend.
Perhaps you might spend longer on a recipe, says King, or tackle something new and challenging that might need more time.
Arrange to ‘meet up’ with your favourite people
Just because you can’t physically see these people doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see them – on screen. “Use your downtime to keep the relationships with your friends and family strong, for example by calling/video chatting with people you are currently unable to see in person,” says Frederika Roberts, a positive psychology author and The Happiness Speaker.
Have a Saturday morning coffee over Zoom, a Sunday brunch over FaceTime, or, if you’re tired of screentime, a phone call while you walk around the garden.
Take your favourite weekend activities online
It’s healthy to replicate your pre-Covid-19 weekend activities as much as you can. Usually head to the cinema? Have a film night at home with popcorn and your favourite film. You could watch with friends and get together to swap notes – the HuffPost UK Ents team are full of viewing and streaming ideas.
Or, do you usually head to a yoga or gym class on a Saturday morning? Get up at the same time and head to a quiet space in your flat or home where you can either do a live online class or follow a YouTube lesson. Here are our favourites.
Make a separate weekend and weekday list of “ideas” for things to do, adds King. “Creative ideas keep popping into my head,” she says, “so I have a list that I add to for things I could do on the week and weekend.”