For many, Easter weekend is a long-awaited midi break that can be spent jet setting to a tropical paradise or spent sleeping in and hanging out with family and friends. But what if you could turn the weekend that is often associated with over-indulging into an opportunity to do something new and different, and fun, that will benefit your health and wellbeing along the way. We’ve lined up 10 options that do just that!
1. Tech detox (I need to do this one!)
We know it’s hard but we challenge you to put down the phone and the laptop and turn your screen time into face to face time. Information over-stimulation, especially through a continuous stream of small snippets of meaningless information, can lead to constant distraction, restlessness and even anxiety. Tech detox can help to restore focus, calm and mindfulness and bring you back to here and now. Feel free to take photos of all the awesome food and places you want to brag about but don’t upload them till Tuesday. It can be quite liberating to NOT know what every single friend and social connection is up to every hour of the day. Try it, I dare me!
2. Spend a few hours decluttering your life
The idea of house work might not seem so appealing during your well-deserved long weekend but spending a couple of hours sorting out all those single socks and expired pantry goods can be quite cathartic and cleansing for the soul, giving you a sense of wellness and achievement at the end. Put on some music and spend some time cleaning out the wardrobe, organizing the fridge, sorting through a pile of letters and receipts, or getting your email box back to zero. This invariably creates a sense of calm space and new energy.
3. Volunteer at an animal shelter
Pets can bring out the best in us with their unconditional love and playfulness. Spending time with animals can help to lower stress and increase energy, and improve your mood. Animal shelters and pounds are always in need of volunteers to help look after the rescued animals. You can take a dog for a much-needed run in the park or simply spend some time feeding and helping at the shelter.
4. Hike a mountain
Hiking is a fantastic activity because it’s free, it gets you outdoors and it’s great for cardiovascular fitness. Unlike walking, hiking makes you venture out beyond what is familiar to you and it works different muscles in the body, building more strength and balance. You can research hiking trails online or visit one of the outdoor stores for the best one-day routes around your city or town. Pack a daypack with healthy snacks, water and sun-screen and bring your family or best friends along.
5. Explore a new suburb in your city
You know there is this area in the city you’ve never been to but always wanted to visit because there is a famous vinyl record store or there is a Vietnamese restaurant everyone raves about? Well, put on your walking shoes, jump on the train or a bus and head out to that never-visited-before neighborhood. Spend time walking around new streets and finding new things and enjoy a lunch at the best café you discover, where you can chat to the locals. Get to know your city and her people.
6. Ferment some vegetables
Eating fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut is fantastic for your gut health but it is not always easy to find these foods in your local store, especially if you live in less populated areas. In many cultures, fermenting foods is part of the weekly cooking routine and the process is well documented in cookbooks and online blogs.
It’s always good to ferment a large batch of cabbage or other vegetables, so make it into a fun kitchen project you can do with friends or family. All you really need is fresh vegetables, salt and spices and good containers to ferment in – and in a week’s time you will have your own, homemade pickled goods.
7. Visit a sauna
Not every city has a flashy Korean bathhouse but you can often find a sauna in a spa centre or even in your local swimming pool. A sauna’s heat and resulting sweating: help flush out toxins, relax and revitalize, but it goes beyond that. Controlled hot and cold exposure – sweating in the sauna followed by immediate immersion on cold water – creates surface stimulation, which boosts your body’s immune system. Practice common precautions when taking a sauna – avoid alcohol and medication, stay hydrated and don’t stay in longer than 15-20 minutes. If you are feeling unwell it is not advised you take a sauna and if you have any preexisting health condition, check with your health practitioner first. Learn more about the benefits of sauna here.
8. Plant some herbs
Herbs have many medicinal properties and they make our food taste fantastic but we’re often caught out with a bunch of wilted basil in the back corner of the fridge or we avoid buying fresh herbs to save money. The easiest way to change that is to grow your own. It’s a small investment that keeps on giving and you can keep a few pots of herbs almost anywhere with sufficient light. Whether you have a small balcony, a yard or a well-lit kitchen bench, spend the weekend getting a few pots, soil and some seeds or seedlings for easy to grow herbs such as parsley, basil, mint and thyme.
9. See stand up comedy
Laughter really is the best medicine and it often comes for free but if you have a spare $10-20, it’s absolutely worth getting a ticket to a stand up comedy gig. Unless you’re very unlucky, you are almost always guaranteed a couple of hours of uninterrupted laughter or at least giggling. You will feel the positive effects of happy hormones for the next 24-48 hours.
10. Write a hand written letter
When was the last time you wrote something longer than a post-it? Our constant use of technology and overexposure to information and imagery can lead to fragmented, interrupted thinking and short attention spans. We find it harder to focus and to stay still and present in the moment. Just like reading a book, which requires uninterrupted attention and focus, writing a letter is a great exercise for the brain and our body and mind connection. Using precise strokes and not rushing ahead with your thoughts can become very challenging after prolonged use of computers and smartphones. Writing a long letter or a short memoir is a great practice of mindfulness. It’s also great for your hand muscles and someone will receive a unique message.
What are you planning to do this long weekend? How would you spend your time rejuvenating? Share your suggestions in our comments section.