Address the stress of the week with these activities that will help you soothe anxiety this weekend
Phew, what a week. To-do lists piling up, hoops to jump through, household chores falling by the wayside, caring responsibilities, appointments, deadlines, and let’s not even go into all the anxiety caused by the general state of the world.
Sometimes, making it to Friday can feel like a real challenge, with anxiety and stress occupying our minds – bringing down our moods and draining our resilience. When we do eventually get to the weekend, it can then be easy to use it as a time to catch up on all the things we were too overwhelmed to do during the week and then, before we know it, it’s Monday and the cycle starts all over again before we’ve had time to catch our breath.
So, if you’ve had a full-on week, your stress levels are peaking, and you’re struggling with anxiety, we've got some suggestions for ways you can make this weekend one dedicated to rest and rejuvenation.
Escape to a different world
When this world gets too much, escape the day-to-day toil with the power of stories. If you’re a reader, this may be the time to curl up with the book that’s been sitting in your to-read pile for a while. Or if films are more your thing, settle down with a warm drink and spend the next couple of hours in a whole new world.
- 10 feel-good films
- 6 films that will change your life for the better
- 7 romantic films that get relationships right
- 5 films about mental health that are actually worth watching
- 20 greatest mental health books
- 12 books to inspire and motivate you
- 7 books you never knew were about mental health
We’ve got plenty of recommendations for films and books, but if you’re using this as a stress and anxiety-busting exercise, it might be worth considering exactly what you need from this activity. Are you looking for a good laugh? An inspirational message? A drop of nostalgia? Or total escapism into a fantasy world?
Whatever you go for, it’s also worth bringing some mindfulness into this activity. If you notice that your mind is starting to wander, prompting that anxiety to creep back in, try to recognise those thoughts, let them go, and bring your attention back to what you’re focusing on.
Go somewhere new
You won’t need your passport for this one, because even a trip half an hour down the road will do. Stuck in our routines, we can end up going between the same places again and again. The Victorians often persuaded a ‘change of air’, something physicians would recommend when their patients had ‘nervous ailments’ or melancholy. Going off and discovering somewhere new breaks those daily patterns that can, sometimes, bring us so much anxiety.
What’s more, we also get that sense of adventure and discovery, something that we adults tend to do less of as we settle down. If you’re near the coast, finding a new seaside spot has the added benefit of ‘blue therapy’ – which refers to the soothing feeling we feel when next to large bodies of water. But those of us who are landlocked still have so much to gain from natural spaces such as forests and dales.
Or, visit the next town over. Trawl for treasures in charity shops, find yourself a warm, cosy coffee shop, and there are always unexpected, quirky delights to be found in small, local museums.
Learn some new self-care skills
Self-care is something that is spoken about a lot in health and wellness communities. And you might have a good idea of the basics (making nourishing food, taking a relaxing bath, journaling), but now might be a good time to learn some new techniques like…
- Learn some simple self-massage techniques
- Start your day right with ‘morning pages’
- Try the yoga routine designed for when you’re low on energy
- Discover the surprising wellbeing benefits of birding
Prioritise and delegate household chores
Sadly, as much as we might wish it, household chores don’t halt when we need a break. But if you do need to get things done this weekend, see whether you can shake things up so that they don’t take away from your mission to find rest and relaxation.
Firstly, have a stern look at your to-do list. Anything that isn’t totally necessary can be struck off. You might also want to consider if some things can wait till you’re feeling more energised, and also have a think about what are the things that are really important to you (for example, alright, the washing up does really have to be done – but mowing the lawn? That can wait.)
If you have other people in your household, and they can help out, sit down, have a chat, and see whether you can delegate some of the things that you would normally take on. You should try to be honest, explaining how you’re currently feeling, letting them know you need to lean on others for a bit more support at the moment, and that their help would really make a difference. If you have children, now might be a good time for them to earn a little extra pocket money/screen time/a trip to the park.
Above all else, make joy a priority this weekend. We all go through times when we feel immense pressure, we have worries that stop us from sleeping, nagging moments of insecurity, fears and unrest. So, if you do one thing this weekend, prioritise joy.
What makes you the happiest? Time spent with your loved ones? Sitting and having a catch-up with that friend who just gets it? Is it quietly working on your hobbies, creating something new with your hands, expressing yourself creatively? Maybe turning up your favourite album, singing along and dancing like nobody’s watching? Getting outdoors, wandering through the landscape, working in your garden, nurturing the world around you?
Whatever it is, even if it’s only for a short time, even if it’s a little inconvenient, make sure you make space for joy. Because you deserve it, you really do.
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