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Your Weekend Motivation Makeover

Try these simple weekend activities to give yourself a mental boost.

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Your weekends are time for rejuvenation and recharging your energy. Try these activities to have a more invigorating weekend and start the week happier and with more oomph.

1. Put an ebook or audiobook on hold at your local library.

If you're reading here at Psychology Today, I'm going to take a guess that you enjoy reading. While short blog posts are great, they're a tasty mental snack and sometimes reading a whole book is going to feel more nourishing for longer. Most libraries have the Overdrive service where you can borrow ebooks or audiobooks for free. You'll often need to wait your turn for popular books, so jump on your computer and put on a few holds. What's great about this is that you won't know exactly when you'll reach the front of the line, and it's a nice surprise when you get the notification to say your book is ready.

Why do this: Reading any book (non-fiction of fiction) will introduce you to new perspectives and yield some fresh thoughts.

Ideas: Business books, a fiction author who's books you've enjoyed previously, celeb autobiographies, cook books, and of course psychology or self-improvement books.

Tip: If you look at a computer screen all week, you might prefer an audiobook. Get creative about where you listen, like while gardening or walking, or in the bath.

2. Identify something you've done in the past and enjoyed but haven't done lately.

Doing something different (that is, a novel activity) is very energizing. Moreover, when we put ourselves in different physical settings it can generate new thoughts and emotions. What fun weekend activities have you done in the past but you haven't done them lately?

For a slightly different take on this concept, author Gretchen Rubin has a tip to think about what you enjoyed doing when you were 10 years old. This self-reflection question can help you get in touch with sides of yourself that have gotten buried as an adult To get you thinking, consider these questions:

  • What types of books did you enjoy when you were 10?
  • What types of physical activity did you enjoy?
  • What did you like to do for fun outside your house? (e.g., you liked to go roller skating).
  • What did you like to do at home?

What you want to do now might not be exactly the same thing as you enjoyed as a child, but there may be a theme you can extrapolate from. For example, thinking about this topic as I write, I'm remembering how much I used to enjoy fiction whereas most of what I read these days is non-fiction.

Tip: Set calendar alerts for any weekend activities you enjoy that recur but aren't every weekend. For example, my bank has a program where certain museums are free the first weekend of each month. I have this on my calendar so I remember that option is available. Or, a Thai temple in my city has a food festival once a month.

3. Do, or plan to do, something you want to do but you've been waiting for either external permission or the "right" circumstances.

It's common for us to put internal roadblocks in the way of things we'd like to do. For example, just this week I was thinking about how I'd like to go to the SXSW conference. Every year in recent years I've had this thought. It just hit me this week that nothing is actually stopping me from just doing it. I've had a vague thought that I need some compelling reason to go, but I actually don't. Just wanting to attend is reason enough.

Roadblock thoughts are often vague, as in my example. Another version is thinking "Oh my spouse probably wouldn't want me to do that." Or, "Some time in the future will be a better time."

Once you've identified something you'd like to do, make a rough list of the steps you'd need to take to make it happen. For example, to go to SXSW, I'd need to find out when tickets go on sale and find accommodation. Most likely I'd try to use hotel points and, due to the popularity of the conference, would need to book as soon as the hotel chain opened those dates for reservations.

What you want to do might be much simpler or cheaper than my example, like trying a new recipe or a new restaurant.

Wrapping Up

It doesn't take much effort or time to try a new activity on the weekend. If your weekend routine has you feeling stuck in a rut, try my ideas (or an idea of your own).

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