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Six weekend switch-off tips for a happier, healthier you

It’s almost hump day; if you find yourself longing for the weekend by Tuesday afternoon you desperately need to continue reading because you need to give yourself a break.

Author, Katrina Onstad had a light bulb moment when her son confessed to her that he feels they didn’t have a weekend at all after a hectic two days filled with commitments and to-dos. The result is her book The Weekend Effect all about how to live a happier and more fulfilling life by just taking those much needed two days off.

The reality is that most of us desperately need a break; chance to recharge but we inevitably end up booking a weekend that is even busier than our weeks; shopping, cleaning the house and paying the bills are just some of the things we need done every weekend then we still have social commitments and our own hobbies.

These are Onstad’s six tips on how to get the most out of your weekends, by doing as little as possible.


When you walk into a restaurant almost every second person is on their phones this is interfering with your relationships with your loved ones try for just two days to not use your phone. If you get work emails over weekends simply set your email to respond on a Friday afternoon that you will be back at the office on Monday morning or if you work for yourself it is best to set clear boundaries around when you will or won’t work.

Socialise – the real kind


Connect with people over the weekend; make time to go see family or a friend you haven’t seen in a while. It’s better for your health and happiness to see people face-to-face instead of just talking over the phone or Facebook.

Top tip: Make sure your family sits down for meals and switch the TV off so that you can have conversations and connect.

Do something good for someone else

Taking time from your weekend to do something good for someone else, like volunteering to bake cupcakes for an old age home or playing with the dogs at your nearest SPCA, will ultimately benefit you. According to a study done in 2012 doing something good for someone else will make your weekend feel longer



Get up and move, play, things like touch rugby or a silly game of hide and seek with little ones are always winners. You could also try joining your local running; you will have fun and you will get to meet new people that will probably become friends.

These are the stress-managing habits you should be cultivating

Manage your own expectations

Doing all the cleaning by yourself will ruin your weekend and will leave you irritated, so get everyone in your family to help. You can try cleaning one room everyday so when over the weekend the house won’t be that bad.

Top tip: Set aside a time for cleaning first thing on a Saturday morning then you will have the rest of the weekend to do what makes you happy.

Look for the beautiful things in life

Taking time to smell the roses will make it feel like you have more time over the weekend; you might like looking at art or taking a walk in a beautiful nature scene. So find an art gallery that you like or a walking trail in nature or just take the plunge and spoil yourself with a weekend away – there are magnificent spots within two-hour drives from every major town and city in this country.

You’ve got permission to do one thing this weekend – visit your nearest bookstore to buy Onstad’s, The Weekend Effect, to learn more on how to achieve a happier, simpler and rejuvenating weekend.

Words: Natassha Burrell


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