It’s no secret that shifts in the way we work have blurred the lines between on-the-clock and off-the-clock time. Since many of us are working remotely, increased time at home has contributed to high rates of burnout, with 69% of people in a recent survey saying that they have experienced burnout in some way since going remote. Plus, the majority of people, at 59%, reported not taking as much time off of work as they would if they were in-office (and taking normal vacations). As work from home continues for many of us into 2021, it’s important that we find time to rest and recharge to help battle burnout and potential stress that so many people are experiencing.

Luckily, there are certain weekends throughout the year where we have national holidays that grant most people a three day weekend — built in time off that you don’t have to request or use a vacation day for! These long weekends are a great opportunity to rest and recharge, giving us a full 72 hours to ourselves. Specialists have even claimed that taking more frequent, shorter breaks is more beneficial in the long run than taking one or two extended vacations a year. 

Why? They’re lower lift, first off — having a long weekend where you can simply do nothing can be much more effective than taking a full-on vacation. Getting out of town and traveling can add even more stress to your plate, especially in COVID times, which diminishes your ability to recharge. Longer vacations are also much more expensive — taking a short trip over your three day weekend or making it a “staycation” is easier on your bank account. It’s also been reported that when taking a few days off, instead of 8 or 9, makes it easier to actually disconnect. It can be difficult to stomach completely removing yourself from work for a full week, but a simple long weekend? That’s much more manageable.

But what should you actually be doing over the long weekend to ensure you come back on Tuesday recharged and rejuvenated? We’ve got six great ideas for you ahead.

Reach out to an old friend or coworker

Keeping social interaction up during quarantine is critical, and helps individuals in many ways including improved mental health, giving a sense of safety and security, and helping you develop long-term, trusting relationships that you can lean on in times of crisis. Since you’re not busy talking to coworkers on Hive or Slack over a long weekend, take that mental energy and call or text an old friend. You’ll likely leave the conversation feeling rejuvenated and recharged. 

Get some fresh air

We all know that spending time outside in nature is good for us, but just how good? The scientific research might shock you. Spending time in natural green space has been linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, decreased risk of premature death, and it increases sleep duration. Since the majority of us work inside at a desk or home workspace during the day, taking the time to get outside during a long weekend will be hugely beneficial. If you’re up for hiking or related outdoor activities, check out sites like AllTrails to give you the best intel about trails and parks near you.

Go shopping for workspace decor

This is a great reason to go to Target, and who doesn’t want to go to Target?! Even though this is related to work, it’s a fun design-related activity that will help you become excited to head back to work on Tuesday. By shopping for some fun fake plants, picture frames, or other accents for your remote work space, you’re personalizing and taking control over where and when you work. Research has suggested that adding personal touches to your space helps people take ownership over their space, helping “positively affect cognitive and mental states.” Who wouldn’t want to look at a cute framed picture of their dog during their Tuesday morning meetings?

Organize your personal calendar

It’s sometimes helpful, and necessary, over a long weekend to spend time simply organizing your life. During the week, our calendars are often packed with back-to-back work meetings, deadlines, and other work commitments. Throughout a long weekend, you can really take time to look at your personal calendar, schedule time with friends, and ensure that you’re making enough time for yourself. If you want to get fancy, you can actually use a tool like Hive to organize all of your personal tasks, appointments and deadlines in a productivity tool. P.S. If you want to organize appointments, dates, or other plans in Hive, try using Calendar view.

Set “no tech” time

We check our phones, devices, Apple Watches, computers, and iPads constantly. Research even suggests that Americans look at their phone 80 times a day, or every 12 minutes. If you’re constantly checking your phone or looking at emails, it’s going to be very difficult to fully relax. Over a long weekend, set aside a few hours one day as “no tech” time, where you pick up a new hobby, exercise, enjoy the company of friends (socially distanced, of course), or do another fun activity that doesn’t involve checking your phone. You’ll be surprised at the relief you feel when you limit the time you spend on your phone. Plus, it’ll lower the likelihood of you getting tech burnout during the week while you’re working.

Read a new book

You’ve probably heard this a million times, but we’re going to reiterate how important and helpful reading can be for your mental health. It’s been proven that reading a book, even as little as 20 pages a day, can help put us into a tranquil meditative state, while also making us more empathetic, mentally flexible, and improving creativity. We’ve got a few favorite books if you’re into maximizing productivity, which you can read about here. If you want general intel or some great book lists, check out GoodReads.

Regardless of what you spend your weekend doing, it’s important to take time to actually disconnect from your work, tasks, and deadlines. Taking time off is scientifically proven to make you more productive, creative, will help you appreciate and enjoy your job more, and help improve overall health. The benefits, both mentally and physically, of taking time off are too powerful to ignore. 

Long weekends are built-in opportunities to prioritize yourself and your mental health. Over the next long weekend, we hope you can implement some of these tips and tricks to relax and recharge.