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It’s funny how each week seems to grow legs and quickly run away, being gone before we know whatever happened to it. Too often though, by the time Friday does arrive, our homes, closets, cars, and lives look like a leaf blower has just visited, and our mind is just as frazzled.
While we will all continue to have busy lives, schedules, obligations and such, I refuse to believe that we have to expect this frazzled outcome each week.
I’ve taken some time to look back over my own weeks where I still felt pulled together by the time the weekend had arrived, versus those weeks where it seemed a total disaster when it was all said and done. As always, I’ll admit, some things happen that are out of our own control, but often times the stress we run into is of our own making. So what is it exactly that helps to create the path for a week full of minimal bumps and messes and is a pleasure to proceed through?
While there are an array of things depending on our lifestyles, job, living arrangements and the like, I tried to narrow it down to nine generalities that almost everyone can incorporate into their routine the weekend prior to the work week.
1. A clean house
While no one typically wants to clean the house on their days off, it tends to be the time when it is most likely to occur. Studies have shown that a de-cluttered home eliminates stress, so why not see how it feels as you walk out the door in the morning and then back through in the evening knowing you can relax in a house where you have one less thing to do.
2. Empty the Laundry Basket
Half of the battle of getting out the door in time is deciding what you’re going to wear. Nothing is more frustrating than when I have decided on an outfit that I know fits the day’s duties and my mood, and then I discover that the pants are at the dry-cleaners, or my blouse needs to be ironed. Precious minutes are immediately lost. The goal – shorten the to-do list in the morning; strategy – wash and iron any clothes that are part of your professional wardrobe. Minutes saved!
3. Be Active
In order to feel your best at the beginning of the work week, sweat a little during the weekend. Now this doesn’t have to be your routine workout. In fact, I suggest you try to do something you enjoy that also gets your heart pumping – either go outside for a walk with your spouse, dogs or a good friend, work outside in the yard, meet a friend at the gym for a new class you’ve been curious about, or partake in some mandatory window shopping, just make sure you walk by a ton of windows!
4. Look Ahead
The best defense truly comes in the form of preparation. So take a peek at your Blackberry, Palm Pilot, planner, calendar – wherever you keep your appointments, and see what is in store for you in the week ahead. As you glance at your mandatory obligations, now try to weave in time to exercise and if you can, try to have one scheduled for Monday. Exercise should always be a mandatory appointment. Not only is it an outlet for stress, should any arise this week, but it helps cause one to have a better night’s sleep.
5. Stocked and Ready
Whether you need to make lunches during the week, or not, you’ll always want to have the basics on hand in the refrigerator for breakfasts, snacks and at least one or two dinners during the week. Making sure you are fueled up and ready to go with healthy snacks will help boost your energy and your mood.
6. “You” time
At some point during the weekend, try to find thirty minutes, half a day or if you’re lucky, an entire day, for doing whatever brings you pleasure, turns your mind to relax-mode and allows you to not be responsible for anybody else but yourself. This is your time to recharge, so whatever it is, simply make sure it energizes you, whether it be your soul, your mind or your body. Enjoy!
7. Money Matters
There’s nothing like hitting mid-week, feeling great and then you realize a major bill’s due date was yesterday and you’ve completely forgotten about it. Each weekend, or every other weekend (the more we streamline and the less we stress about money, the better it is for our mental health) look at what bills need to be paid, prep them to be mailed and have them sitting on the desk or foyer table, easy to grab when it’s their time to go. One less thing to potentially cause stress is crossed off the list.
8. Bring the Outdoors In
While you are at the grocery store stocking up for the week’s supply of food, grab a bouquet of flowers. A beautiful arrangement is a sure way to create an extra smile as you busily go about your routine during the week. The splash of color and such a small piece of nature are a tiny, but powerful mood-booster.
9. A Motivator
If after looking at your weekly planner, you’ve realized it is going to be a doozy of a work week, try to schedule something fun – a pedicure, happy hour with friends or colleagues on Friday, a massage (some weeks require serious relief!), a brunch on Saturday or coffee with a good friend. By scheduling something that you look forward to, the toiling jobs are a little less daunting.