It’s a moment we’ve been waiting for: another long weekend!
For many, Victoria Day weekend is seen as the official launch of summer. The weather is getting warmer and drinking coolers on the patio sounds like an inviting way to kick-back and de-stress after a long winter.
But before we break open those 2-4 (24 bottle) packs of beer, let’s consider some alternative ways to have a fun and relaxing long weekend.
Numerous studies have shown that exercise reduces stress and helps us relax. According to Livestrong Magazine, this relief occurs in our cells and our minds. Telomeres (the protective coating around our cells chromosomes) are shortened by stress and lengthened during exercise, to offer protection against premature aging (one of the many effects of stress). On the other hand, if long enough and at a high enough intensity, physical activity can get us into “the zone” – a place in our minds where we obtain absolute focus on the task at hand and forget the things that were troubling us.
You don’t have to go to the gym if you don’t want to. Your physical activity can be a bike ride, speed-walking the dog, going for a hike, a run, or a swim (if the weather decides to cooperate). Don’t hesitate to pick something that fits your style.
If you would rather have some structure when it comes to exercising, check out these 3 quick and easy HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training) you can do at home.
Put your mind at rest for a little while. Instead of focusing on the “millions” of things you have to do (or drinking those thoughts away), embrace the quiet. The crazier life gets, the more we forget that taking time for ourselves isn’t selfish.
It doesn’t have to be yoga (even though yoga is awesome!). You can spend your quiet time in a warm bath, on your bed, at a park… wherever is a quiet place for you. This process has been shown to reduce stress and increase general happiness.
Sound weird? Not sure where to start? Check out this quick guide to meditation for beginners.
3Try Something New...
What’s that thing you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t gotten around to yet? Try it this weekend! Often times it’s the things that actually make us happy, relaxed, or excited about life that end up slipping through the cracks. With a little extra time this weekend, why not try out that new recipe, learn that skill, join that Pilates class or whatever it is you’ve been putting off. It might become the hobby you’ve been looking for!
Fun Fact: Hobbies actually help us live more stress-free lives. Carving out time for the things we like minimizes the impacts of chronic stress by giving us a much needed a break, a social outlet (if the hobby involves other people), and improving our mood. Find out more about the benefits of hobbies here!
4Have A Drink*
Obviously, it’s not always possible to steer completely clear of alcohol. Spending time with friends and loved ones is important and, on weekends like these, gatherings often include or revolve around alcohol. Not saying you should avoid these events, but maybe you can sip on something a little different while you’re there ?
- Carbonated water: if you’re looking for a little bubbly
- Smoothies/Fruit Juices: in moderation, these can be healthy and refreshing alternatives
- Mint Tea: the menthol inside can double as a muscle relaxer and stress relief agent
We don’t always have the luxury of making our own drinks. So, if you find yourself at a bar or restaurant this weekend, check out this Buzzfeed article on the 24 Drinks You Should Order If You’re Not Drinking.