It's the weekend, rejoice! With the prospect of a lie-in, the opportunity to eat whatever you like and even the occasional party to get to, Saturdays, in particular, feel like the reward we truly deserve for making it through a gruelling working week.
And science agrees, with the results of a survey on happiness pinpointing the precise time of 7.26 pm on a Saturday as the happiest time of the week for many. The reason for this being that at this stage, most of us have managed to unwind; the stresses of the previous five days feel like a distant memory. If only we could bottle our Saturday happiness factor and take us with it into the next few days, said everyone, all the time. Well, while we can't promise a miracle, there are a few things you can do to keep your mood on the up, based on an intriguing survey.
Mikael Cho, co-founder of creative marketplace Crew, devised an intriguing "Happiness Experiment" to figure out why he was happier on the weekends and how he could spread this joy to the rest of the working week.
Over the course of 10 days, Cho tracked his own happiness, rating each day on a scale of 1-10 and recording how he felt at the end of it. From these ten days, he compiled a list of tips to make each day feel like a Saturday and, two years after adopting the tips himself, has found a vast improvement in his happiness levels, not only during the weekend but throughout the week too.
Why not give these six tips a try to ensure your happy feelings stay well put into next week?
1. Meet A Friend
Never have our lives been busier than they are today. Our hours are limited, our days hectic and invariably we tend to lose touch with good friends as real-life takes over. If we were to do a survey of what people want more of in life (asides from the obvious), we're betting it would be what is impossible to gain: time. Use this bit of extra time to pick up the phone and arrange to meet that person you haven't seen in a year. You'll both be all the better for it. Also, a study into weekend versus work week happiness found the ability to spend time with friends and family was one of the biggest factors in contributing to weekend enjoyment so start arranging that weekend brunch.
2. Get Your Fitness Plan Going
The study found exercise to be a key contributor to Saturday happiness, particularly in comparison to sedentary weekdays spent sitting at a desk. That fitness routine you keep putting on the back burner? Now?could be the ideal time to start your?walk/run/jog timetable. Or how about the one you can do in bed? Maybe you've been itching to give mindfulness a go? Seize the moment and start now - you'll be amazed at how even a brisk 20-minute walk can revive your senses and make you feel great.
3. Eat What You Love
Because you've kept the healthy lunch plan in place, all week and you now deserve a treat. Get that takeaway, enjoy your glass of wine - life's too short not to. Brunch is also an excellent idea.There are endless tasty brunch options in our fine capital. We love these in particular. The choice is yours and remember; we can start the diet next week.
4. Ignore Deadlines
The study found that the bulk of us have a tendency to set ourselves unrealistic and tough deadlines, and it's the added pressure of trying to reach these that hugely contributes to stress and keeps our happiness factor low. Knowing your productivity limitations are key, as are taking breaks. And anyway, it's the weekend, ignoring them for the next 48 hours is?the best short-term remedy.
5. Sleep, But Don't Force It
The weekend leaves you ample time to catch up on those extra zzz's. We are constantly being told that we need more sleep. Even a new study by the National Sleep Foundation is sleep-shaming us into believing we need seven to 10 hours per night while other figures say that on average we tend to get about six to seven (a typical average is eight, FYI). Getting those crucial hours of sleep has been consistently linked to overall wellbeing, better performances at work and sound mental health, so take that 60 minutes of shuteye if you need it, but it's also important not to force sleep either. The study found lying awake and trying to force sleep, particularly with the added pressure of having to get up and go to work the next morning, is a sure-fire way to decrease happiness, so try and relax and let the tiredness come as it will.
6. Take 5 Minutes To Be Grateful
Taking this short amount of time to take stock of all you have to be thankful for can be a real mood enhancer. The study author explained that when something that makes us feel good happens, like a raise, we get a temporary increase in happiness. Yet shortly after, we find ourselves dipping back down to being just as happy (or unhappy) as we were before. Focusing on the good things will surely help elevate our mood, and the study added that physically writing key points down also helped with this.
So, there you have it. Regardless of how many of these you try, enjoy your 48 hours of freedom and do what makes you happy. You've earned it.