how was your weekend?

 Stretch time by doing more.

Stretch time by doing more.

Most answer, "Not long enough!" If you want longer weekends, try something new.

If you often wonder on Monday morning how your weekend flew by so quickly, you might want to re-consider how you are spending your time. Turns out, psychologists suggest the key to a fulfilling weekend that doesn't feel too short is to seek out and discover new things.  

Pursuing new settings, new activities and new experiences is the best way to feel like you can ‘stretch time’.  The theory goes like this: When you spend time doing something new and unfamiliar, your brain focuses more on collecting information about the activity and in turn, creates a more detailed memory about the experience.  When you reflect on that memory, it feels like you had more time.

The reverse is true as well. If you are stuck on the treadmill of life, doing the same routine every weekend, you won't remember much about your days. It will feel like time flew by because you weren't giving your brain any new data to build new memories. A routine weekend is similar to a really long, uneventful flight; it seems monotonous while you're actually in the air, but once landed you practically forget the entire experience.    

Fortunately, seeking out novelty isn't as difficult or expensive as it sounds. And a new setting can be just as effective as a new activity.  Here are a few ideas to inspire.

  • Eat breakfast outside in the morning sunshine instead of the kitchen
  • Take a swim at Little Crystal creek or another local waterhole
  • Go for a hike - Cape Pallarenda has a variety to choose from
  • Try a new café or order something you haven’t had before
  • Bike ride along Ross River
  • Walk the Strand or Castle Hill
  • Browse a bookstore or antique shop
  • Visit an art gallery or take an art class - Umbrella Studio supports local artists
  • Watch a live performance instead of a movie
  • Have a movie night at home with popcorn and treats

Experiencing new things doesn't make time slow down, but you will feel like you have made the most of your time.  Any activity you undertake that is pleasant, fun, enjoyable, satisfying, or gives you a sense of achievement will have the added bonus of making your mood lift and you will feel happier.*    So, would you rather stick to your regular weekend routine or would you prefer to look back relishing in the new things you tried?  The choice is yours as to how you live your #BestLife.

*Please know that sometimes, when people suffer depression, they may not have the motivation or might find it difficult to get started with activities.  For others troubled by anxiety, the thought of trying new things might overwhelm or even scare them.  The trick here is to start with small activity goals and working with a clinical psychologist can help. 

article by Lydia Rigano

this article appears in DUOMagazine July 2017