Be a Weekend Warrior: Get Active on Your Days Off.

It is Friday, and the week has finally wound down and you are ready for the weekend, what do you do? Do you look forward to sitting in your pjs all weekend watching Netflix, or do you have a list of chores and errands that need attending to? How about some social events or adventures? Everyone has a different way of spending their weekends. For adventure-lovers like me, we see the weekend as an opportunity to get outside and enjoy being active. After a long work week, this may seem exhausting. I think that if you plan your time well, you can spend one day being active and one day relaxing.

I consider myself a “weekend warrior.” I work hard all week and I celebrate by being active on the weekend. In the summer, I go on hikes, swimming at the river or lake, camping, to festivals, or tubing on the river. In the fall, I visit pumpkin patches, hike, go to beer festivals, go on hay rides, etc. Winter is full of outdoors fun, like skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country, sledding, and staying in cabins at the mountain. Spring, although very rainy, is fun for walking around the city, hiking up mountains with wild flowers, visiting tulip festivals, going on wine tours, and enjoying the transition from cold to warm. There is a fun activity for every season, so no reason to stay inside every weekend. I spend Saturdays being active and Sundays relaxing, doing laundry, and grocery shopping. Being active keeps me happy.

They say that spending time in nature reduces stress and depression. After a long work week, I’d much rather go on a beautiful hike to a waterfall then sit at home dwelling on what work I need to do next week. I also am a travel lover and if I’m not traveling, I am exploring my own city and state. A lot of people leave the country to visit all these beautiful places, but they neglect to get to know their own home. It is important to also be a tourist in your own town, so that you know the place that you are living in. If you can’t afford to always travel, find enjoyable activities to do at home. Go to the museums, walk the streets, try new restaurants, and visit the markets. We oftentimes forget how lovely the place we live is.

I realize when I’m traveling and people ask me about my own town and what there is to see, I have less to say than I do about their country. They also are amazed at how much I have seen of their city or country, and it makes them reflect on how little they have explored their own home. It is great when you can turn the place you live into a place you would want to visit. Oregon, has been so great in this way. There is so much to explore here, that I could spend years and never see it all. I’m sure that other states are similar and we just have to open our minds to it.

Being a weekend warrior doesn’t always have to mean doing the activities I listed, you can also just be active by going and playing soccer with friends, visiting the local pool, and going to your gym. Being active keeps us healthy and happy. Of course, it is important to let ourselves relax. That is why I always try to have one of the days of the weekend for doing nothing or minimal activity.

This past weekend, my partner and I went with a friend to tube down the Sandy River. It was a lot of fun. Instead of sitting in the house on a 100 degree day, we decided to spend it on the river with a cooler floating behind us. We viewed osprey and bald eagles swooping above us, water bugs flitting across the top of the water, and fish maneuvering below us. We stopped on the beaches to eat and drink. Our hands and arms worked furiously to keep us in the right direction and away from danger. There were fun rapids that sent us bounding down the river and splashed us and there were dangerous rapids, we had to walk around. It took 7 hours and we felt exhausted at the very end as the sun shimmied down the sky and disappeared behind the trees. We were too late to get our car from the upper lot, but for me it was worth it.

We had an adventure. The work week is something more of a necessity, but it doesn’t feel like living. It doesn’t enrich my life. I get through it. The weekend is when I get to live. I get to explore. I adventure. This is the time, I truly make memories and forget the work week exists. Without the weekend, I would become a robot with no emotions just going through the actions of waking up, working, returning home, and sleeping. I need these adventures to feel human. I need nature to remind me why we are here. Not everyone would agree. I totally get the temptation to sleep in late, lay around in pjs, and just turn off your brain for two days. The reason I choose not to most of the time, is because then they are winning. They, being the ones that designed us to be little worker bees, control our days. If we give in and dissolve each weekend into a pile of mush, we are forfeiting our lives. We have given up. We are designed to work hard and then crash and do it all over again.

I can’t live that way. I need to feel free. I need to shake off my week and shed that skin, so I can be human and enjoy life. That is why I choose to be a weekend warrior and seize the day. If I’m not traveling, I’m turning my weekends into an adventure. I have to get out there and live, or I will lose myself to this routine. Try it. Try spending one day a week, doing something active that makes you happy and hopefully it will make you feel better about life. If you involve nature you might even feel less stressed and more rejuvenated. Doesn’t hurt to try.

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