We Still Need Weekends During Social Distancing

If you’re on the internet, you’ve certainly seen memes and tweets declaring the obsolescence of weekends. No doubt you, your friends and family – even your dog – are espousing the sentiment that Saturday and Sunday no longer matter! The distinction between weekend days and weekdays has collapsed thanks to social distancing, a time when one day can easily roll into the next, like a less funny version of Bill Murray’s 1993 classic Groundhog Day.

I started social distancing around six weeks before society in general. That’s not  because I’m a distinguished epidemiologist or a clairvoyant who somehow knew COVID was coming; it’s because I went on mat leave at the end of January and it’s kind of hard to leave the house when you have a baby. But in those six weeks when I was off and the rest of the world was still humming away, I came to a realization I’d like to share: You need a weekend. Even if you’re housebound and your usual schedule has gone by the wayside, you can’t allow your life to become monotonous. You need to make up a routine and follow it. You need a mix of fun days and serious days; you’ll benefit from having weekdays and somehow, you need to fool yourself into thinking you’re getting an honest-to-goodness weekend.

Weekends are good for our physical and mental health; they give us breaks, rest days that feel like rewards. In turn, they make us feel refreshed and that much readier to take on the challenges of the week ahead. If your schedule were a meal, the weekend would be the dessert, the final course that motivates you to finish your vegetables (I.e. the chores and mundane work tasks that, under normal circumstances, are meant to be accomplished from Monday at 8 am until Friday at 6 pm). So, in a world where many of us do not have the luxury of going to a workplace anymore, how do we preserve the leisurely sanctity of the weekend? Well, here are a few tips that have been tried and tested by yours truly…

1.Find Projects to Complete During the Week

 In my case, these projects include getting a crying, onerous baby to practice tummy time twice a day. In your case, your weekdays at home could be spent quilting, writing the novel you always meant to start, or attempting to bake bread, like 95 percent of Instagram users seem to be doing. Whatever you’re up to, try to be productive. Learn a skill or devote yourself to chores you don’t normally have time for, such as cleaning the oven or dealing with all that gross hair clogging the drain in your shower. Such tasks may feel like a pain in the proverbial ass, but hey, so can work! 

The reason why it’s useful to do things we should do but don’t want to do is that it gives us a sense of accomplishment, and it also makes leisure time more special. One of the most common complaints I’ve heard from my friends during social distancing is how all those hours cozied up on the couch watching Tiger King no longer feels like a treat. While spending an entire day away from the office binge-watching TV was once a joy, it’s become banal. Well, don’t let social distancing yuck what used to be your yum! Start a project and finish it so your leisure time will still feel special.

2. Remember to Take A Break On Weekends

It can be helpful to avoid going an entire week without productivity, but it’s also vital to take a break. The weekends are special because (for those of us lucky enough not to work on weekends) we get to play hooky. As anyone who has ever had to work seven consecutive days will tell you, there’s a psychological cost to having so little time to unwind. So remember to be gentle with yourself. The isolation that accompanies social distancing is taxing, so remember that relaxation is important.

3. Schedule Hangouts With Friends

Are you the type of person who likes hanging out with your posse on the weekends? Facetime and  zoom meetups aren’t the same as IRL dinner parties or movie nights, but they’re better than nothing. The thing is, you must remember to schedule them or they won’t happen. We have to work diligently to maintain our in-person social lives, and the same is true for virtual socializing. You can’t assume your friends will be free and at their screens when the urge to skype them comes. Instead, send them a calendar invite for tea on Friday or Saturday night, the way you would if you expected them to come all the way to your house.

So, consider inviting friends to an online cocktail party or trivia night. I feel ya – connecting with people virtually sure can feel inferior the real thing, but in my experience, it’s far better than nothing!

Sarah Sahagian

Sarah Sahagian

Sarah Sahagian is a feminist writer based in Toronto. Her byline has appeared in such publications as Elle Canada, Flare, Bitch Media, The Toronto Star, and The National Post. She is also the co-host of You Do You: A Dating Podcast. Sarah holds a master’s degree in Gender Studies from The London School of Economics. You can find her on Twitter, where she posts about politics and live-tweets The Bachelor