Your weekend to-do list may currently consist of only sleeping in, enjoying doing nothing, or sitting on your sofa for hours watching your favorite TV series. If you would like to spend more time outside on weekends but have no idea what you can do, this post is the answer, with 11 things you can do this weekend (and any weekend, as a matter of fact) from anywhere in the world. Whether you enjoy art, music, sports, shopping, or socializing, this post has the perfect solution for you.
1. Walk in the Nature
Walking in a park on weekend can do miracles for your mental health and emotional well-being and charge you with energy. Spring is coming soon, and nature is coming back to life. Your mood will be improved, you will feel less stressed and more relaxed, you will sleep better, and you will have increased levels of endorphins and dopamine. Which in turn promote happiness. Finding a park near you is usually quite easy, but I recommend using Google to find the most quiet and largest one.
In my city, Bucharest, there is a park called Văcărești Delta, located at the edge of the city. It’s the perfect place for bird watching, seeing wildlife, and getting lost on marshy paths while still being inside a city. At the other side of the city, there is a large forest, Băneasa forest, which is completely untouched by human influence except for the long bike paths.
My favorite park in the world I discovered accidentally while traveling in Germany. In Munich, very close to the old city center, is a large park called English Garden. It is impossible to spend less than a day to cross it. What I enjoyed the most, however, was the surfing activities in the nature, in the middle of a city.
Being in nature makes us happy, relaxed, and feel safe, as this is genetically our home since ancient times. Therefore, I never let one week pass without going out at least a few hours in nature.
2. Read a Book Outside
As mentioned above, spending time in nature has many benefits, and the same can be said for reading a book. Reading can help improve your vocabulary, concentration capacity, and motivation. When combined with being in nature, these benefits are even more pronounced. Reading in a park can improve your ability to focus, as the natural light boosts energy and concentration, while also helping you make a deeper connection with the book. In addition, your eyes will appreciate the break from screens and artificial light.
To read outside, it is best to find a remote place in the park, away from the entrance and children’s playgrounds. You can sit on the grass, a blanket, a tree trunk, a bench, or a hammock. Whatever feels most comfortable for you. Personally, I prefer sitting directly on the grass when it’s warm outside, or in a hammock when the weather is chilly, as I feel closer to nature by directly touching the earth and feeling the wind. However, the choice is entirely up to you.
If you’re looking for ideas on what to read next, I have a few recommendations. If you’re a fan of classics, I highly recommend “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, which I have just finished reading for the seventh time. It is even better than the movie! If you love Asian style and easy-to-read novels, Genki Kawamura’s book “If Cats Disappeared from the World” is a perfect choice. And if you prefer non-fiction books, I am currently reading a very engaging one about predictive algorithms on human behavior and how companies view human experiences as free raw material for information data they collect. The book is called “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” and was written by Shoshana Zuboff.
3. Move Your Body
Exercising can help you focus better, have greater self-esteem, improve your teamwork, and problem-solving skills. And those are only some of the non-health-related benefits. Whether you enjoy staying in your house or going outside, it is impossible not to find an activity involving movement of your muscles that you will enjoy. You might feel too tired for sport after work. But weekend provides enough free time to energise yourself with muscle movement.
At home, in a gym, or in a park, the range of choices is almost limitless. You can mix going to a park with jogging or cycling. Or you can go to a dancing, Pilates, or at a yoga studio. Or you can lift some weights in the gym. And if you feel too self-aware to exercise while others are watching, you can move gym in your own living-room.
Since January, I have tried a few apps at home, and I can say I am impressed about how easy it is to follow those exercises. One is Yoga, and I love how much my flexibility has improved in such a short period of time. The other focuses on HIIT and cardio exercises and is called Aaptiv. This second one gave me muscle soreness for a few days after the first use, but now I am totally addicted to it.
I also tried an app called “30 Day Fitness Challenge” last year, but I didn’t like the fact that the time necessary for completing the daily challenges got longer with each day. Until I had to spend more than an hour exercising each day. I didn’t have that much time. With those apps I am using now, I can insert the time I have, and the app creates me an exercise plan that fits into my time slot.
4. Take a Guided Tour
Have you ever taken a guided tour in your own city? You will be surprised how many new things you can learn about your own neighborhood.
As an urban planning graduate, I can easily identify architectural styles and building ages. But I do not always know where to look for these lesser-known touristy and Instagrammable spots. I recently went on a street art tour in Bucharest, my city, and I was surprised to learn how many amazing graffities and wall paintings are just a few meters away from the streets I walk through daily.
Last year, I pretended to be a tourist in my own city for a day and booked some treasure hunting activities in the old city center with other groups of tourists. I can say it was one of the funniest and most relaxing days I ever had. You can also find guided tours about ethnic minorities no longer living in the city, famous citizens, or even major urban changes that took place in the city. If you ever come to Bucharest, I recommend the guided tours made by the ARCEN association. Especially the one called “With a Cane through Bucharest,” which is an urban education in socialist cities tour with concrete examples from Romania’s capital.
Most guided tours are organised on weekend, so you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity and rediscover your city from a brand new perspective.
Have you ever heard that shopping can make you feel happier? This is not a myth; shopping can lift your mood, lower your stress level, increase your social interactions, and give you a better sense of personal control over your environment, and all of this happens immediately.
I enjoy shopping, but I try not to do it online if I can help it. Being in a physical store can bring more satisfaction when you discover an amazing hidden object. Antique stores are great places to find jewelry or old book editions, clothes boutiques are great for exploring new trends created by local producers (and the materials are often of better quality), and the local green market can provide you with food that tastes much better than the ones from the supermarket.
Take advantage of the free time you have on weekend, get out of your house, walk around the neighborhood, and let yourself be surprised by what hidden treasures you can find in the surrounding shops.
6. Eating Out
You might love cooking but taking a break sometime and trying something new at a restaurant is relaxing and a good place to get away from chores while spending quality time with loved ones. And is cheaper than ordering food online. I don’t know if this happens everywhere around the world, but here in Romania the same food you get in a restaurant is more expensive when you order it using Glovo or other food delivery app.
When you chose to eat in a restaurant, you enjoy the experience, and take a break from your problems. Plus, you have a reason to finally dress up with that amazing dress or costume hanging in the back of the closet because you find no occasion to wear it to. Especially if you do this in weekend or evenings, and not in your work lunch break.
If I convinced you to go out, I also want to recommend trying the creative places. For instance, in Bucharest my favorites are:
- Miau Café, a coffee house full of cats waiting to be adopted;
- Seneca Anticafe, a coffee house, library and co-working space where you pay for the time spend there, not the consumption, as time is the most valuable thing in the world;
- Acurela Bistro, a pub where you can paint for free and where the tables are on top of small plant greenhouses;
- Boutique du Pain, a small restaurant with a French specific in the center of the city, with a very nice atmosphere and design, and good prices.
You can always find such creative places in your own city with the help of TripAdvisor.
7. Visit a Museum
Museums are not just for tourists. They are also community places where you can learn, get inspired, or connect with others passionate about the same things. It is easy to use the admission price as a reason not to visit a museum, but in the long term, you will feel happier if you spend your money on valuable experiences. Museums fall into this category, as they provide an effective way of learning while being inspired and motivated. Walking through Renaissance paintings or historical artifacts can teach you a lot about science, art, and history. Doing this on weekend will also motivate you to improve yourself and provide you with a dose of inspiration and energy for the next week.
A specific type of museum I adore is a planetarium. I always dreamed as a child of being an astronaut. Looking at stars gives me a sense of belonging to something bigger and amazing. Moreover, it reminds me of how unique and special each of us is. Finding a museum is not difficult, and you can find one in your own neighborhood for sure. I recently discovered I have a museum on my own street that I never knew about. Go out, discover a new museum you have never been to, and enjoy the experience.
8. Meet New People
Weekend is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and make new connections related to your hobbies. A dance studio, a foreign language conversation club, a book club, or a debate meeting are all perfect opportunities to get out of your home and meet new people on your end of the week free time. You will build a network, develop new skills, and boost your resume, all while having fun. You can find these opportunities on social media event sections, Facebook groups, Instagram, Twitter, Meetup, and Eventbrite.
I discovered Meetup while I was doing a two-month internship in Spain and knew nobody else. I needed to find some friends, and there was an already established local group on Meetup. There were both locals and foreigners, all united by the common goal of socializing and improving their English or their Spanish language vocabulary. I go weekly to a board-games socializing event with Mensa, an association of which I am a member. I also go monthly to a book debate club organized by my favorite library.
Just decide on what hobby you want to develop and let yourself go with the flow.
9. Treat Yourself at Spa Session
Whether you would like to go out for a salon, a sauna, or a massage, or you enjoy staying inside, treating yourself is always easy. Among the things you can do on the weekend, you can do your nails, hair, facial treatment, massage, acupuncture, etc.
And you do not necessarily have to spend lots of money. The easy option is to put on a facial mask at home and take a warm bath. You can even find hand or leg masks – I love the ones from Sephora. A massage from your partner can help you strengthen your relationship and make you feel relaxed at the same time.
10. Experience an Art Performance: Live or in Cinema
Are you in need of a reason to dress up? Do you want this reason to be one you enjoy? Art performances, whether in the form of theatre, opera, ballet, movie, or a concert, are the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in a different world and share a unique experience with the artists and fellow audience. Also, live performance has a high potential for social change. They promote social discourse and dialogue and put a mirror in front of society. A good art performance will make you experience magic. It will inspire and motivate you. It will make you feel alive. And you should definitely consider it an option for your weekend free time.
You can find plenty of opportunities for local art performances: in cinemas or in pubs, theatres, opera houses, philharmonics, etc. My favorite ones are ballet shows, but it is all a matter of personal choice. A personal recommendation I can make regarding well-known performances is “Traviata” opera or “Swan Lake” ballet. But you can always find small-scale local performances.
In Bucharest, I discovered “Cuibul Artiștilor” (The Artists’ Nest) a few years ago. It is a project started by theatre graduates who could not find enough opportunities to be on stage. They received a university amphitheater which they transformed into a stage for their plays. Now they have two plays daily and many new projects. And it is all free. If you enjoy the experience they provide, all you have to do is donate any amount of money you want.
11. Go Out at Night
Among the things you can do on weekends, you can consider going out at night. Without the pressure of having to wake up early the next morning, you can relax, forget your daytime obligations, and socialize. Regardless of what you are looking for (acceptance, consumption, connection, entertainment, flash, temporary escape, etc.), a night out can help you put down your barriers, feel freer to express yourself, and get rid of your inhibitions. Personally, I enjoy a night out once in a while because I love dancing to electronic music. Doing this alone in my own room does not provide me with the same satisfaction as doing it in a club on a Friday or Saturday night.
Among the things you can do on the weekend, regardless of where you live, your imagination is the only limit. From enjoying nature, meeting new people, cultivating your knowledge with a book or a live performance or a visit to a museum, to exercising, eating at a restaurant, or going out at night, all you have to do is get out of bed, dress up, and leave the house.
Do you have any other suggestions for activities to do on the weekend or experiences you would like to share? I would love to hear your opinion in the comments below.
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