It’s Friday—at last! Only a few more hours until 5 PM, the magic hour that’ll kick off a two-day long relaxation spree sure to fully recharge you for the week to come.
Sound familiar? Probably not. Unfortunately, we can rarely switch our minds off of work mode the minute we leave the office—it can sometimes take an entire day just to unwind from a hectic week. But with precious little time away from the grind, it’s important to make every moment count.
Want to actually recharge this weekend? Here are some great ways to relax, plus improve your quality of life well beyond your two days off. (Hint: reality TV and tequila shots are not on the list.)
Morning Mental Break
Start your day with the awesome sound of silence. Meditation clears your mind, boosts your mood, and helps you get in touch with the real you, not that wild and crazy chatterbox in your head. Plus, it’s also been shown to decrease stress levels. What better way to forget about your frustrating boss?
If you think sitting still just sounds impossible, try a guided meditation. Listen to these cool audio recordings by Deepak Chopra or Wayne Dyer, which’ll make it easy to stay focused and chill out.
Move Your Body
One of the best parts of a day off is that you’re not stuck at a desk—so take advantage of it! Try a morning yoga class to wake up your body, realign from head to toe, and release some of the physical stress that sitting all day can build into our bodies. Or go for a vigorous walk, play tennis with a friend, or join in on that aerobics class that you’ve been meaning to make time for—anything that gets your blood pumping.
Eat Good Food
Recharge your body with comfort food—and by that, we mean nutrient-dense meals that replenish and renew your system, not extra-cheese pizza. Holistic Health Coach and Chef Donna Sonkin recommends healthy but delicious foods like kale, grass-fed beef, and quinoa pilaf, which give the body a nice hit of protein, magnesium, B vitamins, and calcium. These nutrients and minerals boost serotonin levels and help relax the nervous system (benefits you probably won’t get from your boxed mac-n-cheese).
Stay Away from Electronics
Being constantly connected induces stress, even if you don’t realize it (and you probably don’t). Take a mental break from it all. Put all emails and unnecessary calls on hold. If you can, stash your Blackberry or iPhone for the entire day and enjoy activities that keep you thoroughly unplugged. Check out live music, read a book, or even have a mini dance-a-thon in your home. It’s the simple, grounding activities that can bring you the most joy.
Doing something for others—no matter how small—is both mentally and emotionally transforming. Whether you volunteer at a local soup kitchen for an hour or pay someone a compliment at your local deli, giving back will make your day off feel extra satisfying. Need some inspiration? Check out my list of the country’s top youth volunteers, and what they do to make a difference.
Connect with Your Loved Ones
During the week, we often sacrifice time with friends, family, and community to make sure we meet all those work deadlines. So on your day off, add some quality time with loved ones to your life. Make a point to have a meaningful conversation or lunch with a friend. Write a letter or send a card to a elderly relative. Go to your church, temple, or community center and catch up with people you haven’t seen in awhile. Connecting on a deep level with someone whose company you enjoy can get you feeling happy and recharged for days to come!
Tell us! What are your favorite ways to recover from the week and truly relax on your day off?