Attention Training

How to think fast, find your focus, and sharpen your concentration.

How to Have a Great Weekend: Warding off the Winter Blues

Start planning mid-week for a R&R weekend.

Here’s a thought: let’s focus on having a great weekend this week. Right about now a lot of individuals are starting to feel the good old mid-winter blues. To amplify this feeling, your natural tendency to reach out a little and circulate or to wind down and actively do nothing for a while are sometimes in conflict with work demands. This conflict can contribute to your feeling blah and stuck in the proverbial doldrums. Spinning off the holidays can also leave you feeling down – e.g. things were pretty exciting just a short time ago and part of you is still craving that extra lift. This feeling can, at times, make a somewhat above normal day see drab. So what can you do? Here are a few ideas to help you get that extra R&R you may be looking for.

Tips:

1. Start your weekend on Thursday. If you wait to make your weekend plans on Friday afternoon, you run the risk of increasing your stress and extending it into your weekend.

2. Try a self-scan. Step back and make yourself more aware. Ask yourself: What kind of energy do I need to acquire this weekend to get back to work feeling energized and refreshed on Monday? Do I need more calming weekend activities because my week has been crazed? Do I need to do something exciting because I’ve been so bored I can’t focus on anything?

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3. Action: Pick those activities that will (or have previously done that) for you. Ask: Do I want to do anything differently?

4. Take charge: If you answer that you really need to slow down your pace, try something like making plans for a great relaxing date with your partner etc.

5. If you need more excitement, plan a family getaway or a day or weekend trip, or grab some tickets to the theater or a live concert or anything lively.

Remember too that: Great weekends are often the result of flexibility and low expectations.

Things to avoid:

1. Don’t try to micro manage or you could wind up feeling disappointed. Allow for plenty of spontaneity. If your focus is too narrow, you could miss something good.

2. Be aware. Don’t transfer work aggressions and negative emotions associated with work into your weekend activities. One way you can avoid this, especially if there is something that “needs” to be thought about, discussed or addressed, is to set a time to do that – e.g. later Saturday morning, for ____ minutes. And stick to it. This frees you up not to think about the issue when you are trying to get that R&R you need. It also frees you up to be done with the issue, for the time being, as well. You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done sticking to a time-frame, rather than ruminating over an issue all weekend and losing out on revitalizing yourself.

3. Avoid inundating yourself with work-work. If there are things that must be done, create a schedule of “Must Dos” and stick to it, freeing yourself up during your off-time.

Overall Balance 

Strive to use your weekend to balance off your work week. Before doing anything, see if you need to go up or down to balance. A mismatch will only put more stress in your life. Organize to-dos accordingly. Start thinking as early as Wednesday or Thursday. Try a nice nutritious and slow dinner Thursday evening. This will make your weekend seem extended. Plus, just thinking about the weekend at this point will start you feeling better already. Then, be flexible, and keep expectations low if not out of the pic all together. And enjoy.

 

Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D., is the author of Can I Have Your Attention? How to Think Fast, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Concentration.

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