Something I’ve been trying to do more of recently is what I think of as Slow Saturdays. This is a weekly opportunity to slow down and relax, without feeling guilty about the pile of laundry in the closet or the worrying about preparing food for the next week.

It’s a chance to engage in activities that restore my spirit for the coming week, to catch up on hobbies, and to revel in living without a schedule for a day.

Why Saturdays?

I’ve never really been one for getting things done on Saturdays. Mind, I’d always tell myself I would get plenty done, but week after week I’d find myself lounging around in my pyjamas bingeing on Netflix, telling myself I’d do my chores ‘soon’, then foraging around the fridge for easy food when I got hungry.

Lately, my Saturdays have started to look a bit different. I get dressed in comfy, but presentable, clothes, and do, well, all sorts of things. A few weeks ago, I spent some time playing around with my camera, then set up this site, did some yoga, had a bath, and went for a walk in the local park before making curry for dinner.

The difference between the two situations is intention. In the past, I’ve had a list of tasks for my Saturday. It was never a task list that would take more than a couple of hours to complete, at a maximum, but it was enough. I’d spend the day putting it off, telling myself I deserved a lazy day, while simultaneously feeling guilty for not chipping away at it.

Nowadays, I consciously schedule my housework for during the week, so that, besides dinner on Saturday and a few odds and ends on Sunday, my Saturday is free.

Because I haven’t spent my Saturday berating myself for not getting my housework done, I wake up on Sunday feeling genuinely refreshed instead of more exhausted. And because the tasks I leave for Sunday are limited, I have the energy to get them done and start the week enthusiastic and rejuvenated instead of drained and knackered.

Some people, I know, prefer to get everything done on Saturday, then have Sunday for relaxing. There’s nothing wrong with this, but I prefer Saturdays because it allows me to treat Sunday as the start of the week; rather than rushing to finish things at the end of the week on Saturday, I give myself the last day to slow down and relax, then on Sunday I plan and prepare for the week ahead.

Some principles to keep in mind for Slow Saturdays

The primary rule for Slow Saturdays is that you follow your intuition. You might go to bed on Friday with a plan to hit up a hot yoga class the next day, only to wake up and find you don’t really fancy a workout. The next week you might decide that that’s exactly what you want to do, and head out to the studio right after breakfast.

Even still, it helps to check in on whether the activities you choose are rejuvenating you or draining you. An episode or two of a beloved TV show might be just what you need, while bingeing half a series leaves you feeling like the trek from the sofa to the fridge is insurmountable.

I’m not going to tell you that Netflix should be avoided at all costs on Slow Saturdays. But if you’re finding that you feel glued to the telly, if you keep telling yourself ‘just one more episode’, then it’s a sign you might want to turn off the telly and find another activity.

Some ideas for Slow Saturdays

As I said above, the primary rule is to follow your intuition. Still, if you’re having difficulty getting out of a rut, here are some ideas for things to incorporate into your Slow Saturday:

  • Hobbies. One of the great things about taking a day off from the hustle of life is it gives you a chance to engage in those hobbies you do for the sheer joy of them, the ones that feel almost self-indulgent normally because they’re not serving a broader purpose. Whether it’s painting or baking or learning a new language, Slow Saturday is the perfect time for it.
  • Read a book. I must confess I’m a massive book nerd, so there aren’t many situations where I’d tell you not to read a book, but there really is nothing like spending a lazy afternoon with a cup of tea and a good book.
  • Get outside. There are few things that boost your mood like spending time in nature. Going for a walk, either alone or with your family or friends, is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

While nothing is forbidden on Slow Saturday, there are a few things you may want to be conscious about. Of course, you can go hardcore and do a tech-free Saturday, but even if you’re not banishing all your devices on Saturday, you may wish to think about your use of the following:

  • Netflix. The difference between curling up on the sofa with your partner to watch a movie and bingeing twelve episodes in your pyjamas is huge. If you’re including Netflix in Slow Saturday, think about how it’s making you feel, and try one of the suggestions above if you think it’s causing you more stress than relaxation.
  • Social media. I’d approach this the same as Netflix. I love scrolling through my Instagram feed and looking at people’s lovely pictures, but sometimes I find I start launching the app on autopilot, wishing I were in the Cairngorms or envying another’s photography skills. When this happens it stops being a source of relaxing enjoyment and starts being a source of stress.

A final note

The great thing about Slow Saturdays is how adaptable they are. Every week is a chance to do whatever it is you need on that day, whether that’s spending the entire day on the sofa reading two books back-to-back, or a long walk followed by pottering around the kitchen. There are no rules, and the only goal is to enter the next week feeling calmer and rejuvenated.

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