Listen up - are your weekend plans affecting your mood?
We're all working longer hours than ever before, and for many of us, that means the highlight of the week is the window between 5pm on Friday and 9am on Monday, otherwise known as the weekend. Spending your week living for the weekend is nothing new - it's when most of us socialise, exercise, wind down and spend time with friends and family after a long week at work. But did you ever stop to think that your weekend plans could be impacting your mood for the rest of the week? Unhealthy weekend habits could seriously impact your health and happiness, so here's what not to do this weekend.
Isolation and loneliness
Older people are more at risk of loneliness than any other age group, but that doesn't mean you can't feel lonely and isolated in your 20s, 30s, 40s or at any age. Even if you live in a big city surrounded by people, you can still feel alone. Research shows that spending time with a strong network of friends and family can reduce your stress levels, boost your mood and even make you healthier. Spending time alone at the weekends might be necessary if you're on a tight budget, exhausted from work or feeling unwell, but make sure you find at least some time for friends and family, even if you invite them over to yours or pop home for a Sunday roast with your parents. There's a difference between enjoying alone time and feeling lonely, and balance is the key.
Using food as a reward is a bad idea, and it seems that some personality types may be more prone to this than others. If you find yourself turning to crisps, donuts and cheesecake after a hard, stressful week at work, you need to retrain your brain to stop thinking of food as a reward. Make plans for the weekend that don't involve food - book tickets to the theatre or an exhibition you've been dying to see, take up a new activity such as rock climbing or dancing or meet up with friends and explore your city. Rewarding yourself with experiences rather than food can reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in the future. Not to mention you'll feel better when you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. We're not saying you can't treat yourself to a takeaway tonight, just don't spend your weekend on the sofa with Netflix and a bag of Doritos! Which leads us nicely to our next point.
Inactivity, or spending all weekend on the sofa, is going to make you feel tired, grouchy and fed up. Your energy levels plummet when you sit around all day, whilst lying in bed until lunchtime could lead to headaches and make you feel even more tired. When you spend all day doing nothing, you could find yourself eating fatty, sugary snacks out of boredom. So get off the sofa and try something new this weekend! Join a meetup group in your city on Meetup.com, go to the gym, dust off your camera and get out there and take some photos for instagram or meet up with friends you haven't seen for ages for a catch up. It doesn't matter what you do, just do something - be active, not passive!
Snooze button abuse
Abusing your snooze button is all-too-easy on a lazy Saturday morning when you have nothing planned for the day. But did you know that hitting the snooze button could actually make you feel more tired than you did when the alarm went off? Dropping back off to sleep after the alarm is a bad idea, and hitting snooze all morning can quickly become a habit. Staying in bed when it's sunny outside can not only leave you feeling lethargic, it could give you a headache too, as well as disrupting your body clock and making it harder to get a good night's sleep later on. Dehydration is also a factor - if you're not up and about, making a cup of tea or a fruit smoothie, your body isn't getting the hydration it needs to function optimally. So banish the snooze button and get up to enjoy the day, even if you're just wandering around the shops or meeting friends for lunch.
Most women (and some men too) enjoy hitting the shops on a Saturday afternoon, whether you live near Oxford Street or in a small village with a few select boutiques. Retail therapy isn't always bad news - if there's something you need or you'd just like to browse the new season styles, then why not? It's only a problem if you're on a budget and over-spending. Racking up credit card debt on the weekends just means you'll have to work harder during the week to pay it off, and financial pressures can lead to stress and anxiety. Set yourself a budget - say £50 - and withdraw it in cash. This way you're less likely to overspend and you can treat yourself to just one thing you'll appreciate, rather than spending what you can't afford.
What are your plans this weekend? For the Expertrain team, a weekend of fun, fitness and even some tasty food awaits - we're not averse to the odd Chinese takeaway but we'll be pounding the pavements and heading for fitness bootcamp at our local park too. Drinks with friends and time with family are also on the cards for a pretty well-rounded weekend that will leave us feeling ready to get stuck back into work on Monday morning. Tweet us and tell us what you plan to get up to this weekend!