Take Back Your Weekends! How to Intentionally Make Time for What YOU Love, Need, and Want to Feel || with Janssen BradshawAug 28, 2023
It may seem obvious that weekends are for unwinding, even having fun. But when was the last time you intentionally escaped the grind of your week, and leaned into a truly restorative weekend? Janssen Bradshaw is on the show today to discuss the importance of reclaiming weekends and making them more fulfilling. She believes that treating weekends like vacations, even within one's constraints, is essential for recharging and maintaining overall well-being.
The conversation dives into practical tips for transforming weekends into more joyful and relaxing experiences. Janssen discuss the challenges of screens and chores, offering strategies for setting boundaries and outsourcing tasks to free up precious weekend time. She also explains the idea of creating "weekend bookends" by starting and ending Fridays and Sundays in enjoyable ways, which can set a positive tone for the entire weekend.Tune in to reflect on what you want your weekends to look and feel like and to identify one small change you can make to start enjoying your weekends more fully.
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Monica: Janssen Bradshaw, welcome to about Progress. Ah,
Janssen: I'm so glad to be here.
Monica: It's been such a long time since we had you last and probably six
years, a very long time.
I think you were early on in the show and I could ask you to be here for a whole number of topics. Yeah, it could be almost anything in the book. I would love to have a conversation with you on the podcast, but why we have you here today is just this particular thread of a conversation that you picked up on Instagram stories about how people are spending their weekends, and I just loved how you answered that for yourself, but then also how you shared the reasoning behind it and how people could take it and do what they needed in their lives with the weekends.
So that's what we're gonna talk about today. 'cause I just thought, who better to cover this than someone who's living it out and in a way that I think is so interesting. So let's start with just. Talking about, why do you think it's vital for us as women and families too, to take back our weekends?
Janssen: So I have to start this whole conversation by saying that what sparked this thought process and discussion for me was a book called Happier Hour by Cassie Holmes I believe is the author. She's a m b A professor in California and. In this book, happier Hour, she has this whole section about treating your weekends like a vacation, because her research all about happiness, talks about a break from the mundane and all your responsibilities, all that kind of thing is one of the things that's so vital for humans to keep you going.
If you're just always in the grind, that just wears you down so fast and that, the good news is that. We have this chance to do that for most people once a week where you have a weekend. And yet, so few of us are very good at taking advantage of that and really making the most of it. So when I read this book, which I think was last fall, this was a, come to Jesus moment for me where I was like, I am not spending my weekends.
Like I am not treating 'em like a vacation. They're just. Wasting away. They're not giving me this recharge for the coming week. I could do a lot better. And of course, this is one of those things, there's some self-improvement things where you're like, I know I should do X, Y, or Z, but dang, it's a slog.
This is one where I was like, I'm mean this is a fun project. How do I make my life feel more vacationy more often? And I think one of the things that I love about how she talks about in this book is that, She is, she's a mom, she's a wife, she works full-time, she's busy, she said, I'm not expecting anybody to every weekend be able to jet off to the Caribbean or anything like that.
This is working within the constraints you have. And I highly recommend this book. So there's the background on that. And I think the reason it matters so much is we're all carrying so many responsibilities and. If we wanna carry out those responsibilities? We have to give ourselves breaks.
If you were going to a weightlifting class and they were like, for the next 60 minutes, we're just gonna do straight biceps curls. Nobody could do that. Like your arms would just give out. You have to have a break. You have to switch up what muscles you're doing. And I think it's the same thing with the way we use our time and energy, is we have to give ourselves those breaks, or we're just gonna, collapse on the floor.
Monica: So this is why the algorithm is dumb sometimes. 'cause you jump in midway, like to someone explaining something. I didn't know that about the book. Happier hour. I put that down. So she spurred that desire in you. Hey, I'm actually, I'm gonna take this on as an experiment. Tell us how that looked for you.
Janssen: So there were a couple of things that I thought of as I started thinking about this. One is, it's easy for me to say, Sometimes what's not working better than what would work. So it's easier for me to look at my current weekends and say what part of this. Is tripping me up. What part of this is not working for me.
You're not gonna be surprised to hear what some of the trip ups are because I think Yeah, I know everybody has different responsibilities and different preferences and when I asked on Instagram what would a great weekend look like for you? Or what works for you in a weekend?
Half the people are like, get up early, get going. Don't waste your weekend sleeping in. And then, the other half are like, sleep in, don't set an alarm. Both of those are totally valid and it just depends on what your personality is like, what your situation is like. But I think the things that trip up, the majority of people with their weekends screens are one of 'em.
It's just such a hard thing. And so a lot of people said, what I try to do is just go mostly screen free for the weekend, whether that means deleting Instagram or not checking their work, email that setting some sort of boundary around a screen because. And no one is more guilty of this than me.
That screen can just eat your whole weekend for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And you can just, it gives you no sense of refreshing. And that you spent a lot of time not feeling recharged and that at the end of the weekend you're like, I don't really have anything to show for it. And I don't mean that in a you need to be productive for your weekend to be valuable.
In a. What did I do that refreshed me? And screens are almost never it. And no, I totally agree. I love a good movie. I like looking at Instagram, but you wanna, I think most people's weekends would highly benefit from having some sort of boundary around that. So that was the first one for me.
And so I've tried to be much more mindful about my screen time on the weekends which, with my job, Is easy for me to justify spending a lot of time on my phone. So that's, that was the first one. I think the second one is chores slash housework slash errands, and that's a real thing, especially if you work outside the home full-time, you don't have a lot of other time to.
Clean your bathrooms or go return your library books or go grocery shopping.
Monica: That's been on my list. Yeah.
Janssen: Like a month or two. Exactly. And so one of the things that I have tried to do and that I heard from a lot of other people is that you, if you can set a boundary around your chores, 'cause they will take up.
All the time you give to them, you could clean your house for eight hours on Saturday. Yeah. And to really recognize how much, where am I getting diminishing return on this, and where am I really getting a lot of value out of the errands that I'm doing or the chores that I'm doing? What could I possibly outsource?
If you have the financial resources, do that or to other people in the family. Could you lower your standards a little of how clean your house needs to be? Can your kids pack their own lunch? Is grocery delivery reasonable for you to expect? Or can you do it on your way home from work on Friday? And there's no one right answer for every, any person in any family, to maybe push back a little and say what really needs to be done?
How could this be done in a more reasonable way? That doesn't mean I spend my whole weekend, I. Cleaning or running errands. So those are the two big ones. So then for me, I looked at, besides those, are there any other things that I'm spending my weekends doing that I'm not happy about? What's not working for me?
And I think for me once I was able to identify the things that weren't working, then it was easier to build. What do I really want my weekends to look like? So for me, I thought, I really like to get outside on the weekends. That's really gonna bring me. A lot of happiness that makes it easier to unplug.
Nobody's making a mess at your house when you're outside. So that was three birds with one stone. If I could get outside and plan that into my weekend, that might be going for a run outside on Saturday morning that might be skiing with my kids that might be taking a walk on Sunday after dinner.
A million ways that can look depending on your stage of life or interests. And then I love to read, so one of the things that I've really tried to do in the last, I guess this is coming up on nine months that I've been working on this. If I wake up before my kids, which I'm now at that magical stage in life where I sometimes wake up and all my children are still asleep.
When you have little kids, you think that moment will never come, but it's coming. It comes and so then I tried never to pick up my phone first thing. And I follow your good example of not charging my phone next to my bed. So it's easy for me to not get sucked into it first thing 'cause it's not even right there.
But then I try and go read until my kids wake up, which, That is a great way for me to kick off my weekend. And then, and even if I only read 10 pages, that was such a good start to my week and then or weekend. And then the other thing that I really try to focus on is this bookend of weekends is starting Friday strong.
So for years we've done pizza and movie night every Friday night. We usually have a little treat after the movie. Sometimes it's just like popsicles and sometimes it's something homemade and more fun. And so that's like a fun way to start off the weekend that feels like we are in weekend mode. And there's a million fun ways to kick off Friday depending on what your interests are.
And then on the opposite end, Finishing Sunday in a good way, whether that's having a family over for Sunday night dessert or playing games as a family or going for a walk. Something that kind of makes it feel like it doesn't just slither off into, the Sunday scaries that you're like, there's something good to look forward to, or some strong ending to the week.
Monica: I love those bookends, and that's something I talk about with habit formation all the time is as women, we often can't control what happens during the day, but we can control more often the bookends, even if it's just starting with that little bit of something that helps you feel more like yourself or brings in more what you like in your life.
I wanna talk about. The vacation part to this, because I feel like many women are going to hear, treat your weekends like vacation and they're just gonna close down the whole
Janssen: conversation. It's a total non-starter. Sure. So
Monica: let's talk, let's reframe that a little bit and add like your 2 cents.
And it's not about like limitless budget. Try, go eat at all the places out or just sit by a pool or all day. It's not like that. It's more about a weekend mode. You brought that up a few times how do you want them to actually look at their weekends? What, not like necessarily vacation, but what weekend mode?
Janssen: So I'm gonna default back to Cassie here as if we're on a first name basis. She has no idea I exist. But one of the things she talks about is one of the things that makes vacation so special, so memorable, so fun for most people is that you're really present. If you go out. You're visiting Miami or whatever, and you go out to brunch with your girlfriends that you're on this trip with.
You're not like half doing your taxes while you're at brunch. You're like, Monica, tell me about what's going on. And I'm fully present there. Or you're walking along the beach, or you know what? Or you're in a art museum in Europe and you are in that experience. You're soaking up that vacation experience.
And so one of her big points is that, You can bring that to whatever you're doing at your weekends, at home, instead of trying to, the TV's on and you're trying to do this thing, and then you got this thing going on the other side that if you can just be a little more present, even if that means you're sitting down to eat your breakfast for seven minutes at home and it's a bowl of cold cereal I'm here, I'm eating breakfast, this is my Saturday morning. Maybe you take your breakfast out on the porch if the weather is good, it matters so much less what you're actually doing than the fact that you're present and you're appreciating that and you're not going a million miles every second of the day.
So I think that's really helpful. That really almost anybody can do. Whatever your situation is, that you turn, you're cleaning your bathrooms, but you turn on music and you're making it fun, and you're like, this is a fun bathroom cleaning Saturday afternoon. Is that your dream?
Saturday afternoon? Maybe not, but you can appreciate it for what it is. So the goal
Monica: here is to switch into this mode where it's less about productivity, it's more about being present. It's more about adding joy and making it feel different than the rest of the week, even if you have to do a lot of the same things, which times and seasons, right?
If you have a newborn, it's gonna probably feel a lot the same as a Monday for you, but Yep. But maybe you're blasting the music you like while you're doing that bath time, or maybe your kids are all gone and it feels different too, because, It feels different than the newborn times, but it feels the same in terms of what do I do?
It's like I have every day
Janssen: myself. Yeah. Tuesday's the same as Sunday.
Monica: So that's our challenge. Less productivity, although that can happen more being present and more joy.
Janssen: I just wanna piggyback on what you said about productivity because that is something I struggle with a lot on the weekends is to not feel like if I'm not being productive, this is a waste. I very much have that kind of personality and, I've been married for eight 18 ish years, long enough that I can't remember how long I've been married.
Yeah. And I can tell that I've wrecked a lot of weekends because it's so hard for me to not feel like if we're not doing something productive, then we've wasted our whole weekend. And so I've really had to reformat how I think about it. To say the weekend is not to be productive. The weekend is to enjoy this time and this space with my husband, with my kids, with myself, and not just.
Make myself so obsessed with getting stuff done. And so I think for me it was really helpful to say, what do I want out of my weekends? I want to have more relaxation, more less stress, and to say, if I am just like sitting on the couch chatting with my kids or, going for a leisurely walk or, making dinner and not feeling rushed.
That is a weekend win. I don't have to have painted the entire downstairs or, cooked dinners for the rest of the week. That, it doesn't all ha. Productivity is not the end all be all. Which my brain really wants to think that is like the goal of life is to check as many things off my to-do list as I possibly can.
I think what, when I was able to get more clear on what I. Would make a great weekend to me and also to recognize that it's not the same every time. Like I love a good day trip or going to amusement park or camping or anything like that. I don't wanna do that every weekend.
That would be exhausting. And so to say, every weekend can have its own flavor. Some weekends are like big, get out. We're like the most fun family in the universe kind of weekends and other weekends are. We had a leisurely morning made breakfast at 10 o'clock in the morning and we just hung around in our pajamas.
And then, we watched a movie that, that, that's fine too. And to recognize the rhythm of that. Sometimes it's on a, week to week basis, and sometimes it's more year to year, right now we have a newborn, and so this is gonna be a little quieter. Right now all our kids are a little older and so we can do this kind of thing.
Right now our finances are really tight, so it's gonna look different. Right now we have a little more money. Right now we have a lot of childcare. Right now we have very little childcare that you can recognize that ebb and flow both on a bigger scale and on a week to week scale. I like that
Monica: flavor part because that gives you permission to not have to.
Do. You don't have to always have the ideal weekend to have the weekend a better weekend. It's not about, it's not about having from Friday night to Sunday night, the best time ever. It's about you. You said this phrase, weekend win. That's a weekend win. That's what we're looking for.
Just more weekend wins. We can. That's gonna be the focus.
Janssen: Yes. And I think one of the things I did, the, one of the first weekends that I was working on this is I made, I guess it was not, it was when I was talking about this in everyday reading book club, when we did this book and I was talking about weekends, I made this little.
Instagram reel about our weekend and I just over the weekend took some little clips of things we were doing and it was funny because when I posted it and I actually, I knew this was gonna happen before I posted it. Lots of people were like, I cannot believe how much stuff you packed into your weekend.
And if you went back and actually watched it, a lot of it was not that thrilling. I finished a jigsaw puzzle because I'm 90 years old and I love a jigsaw puzzle. I made pizza for dinner and I went and bought a plant at the plant store and then I came home and I re plotted that plant. So it looked like a lot of things, but most of them were not these big, really like mind bogglingly cool things.
We did do some fun things too. We went skiing as a family and my husband and I went out to dinner, but, Actually, most of it was very normal, but when you are paying attention to oh, I'm doing this puzzle and that's like a fun thing I like to do for 15 minutes and I'm gonna take a little video or picture of it, it helps you recognize the wins that you got on the weekend that could otherwise just flow by.
And I think also for someone like me, Who does love that productivity kind of thing. Documenting it, even in that small way, the reel was probably 30 seconds long, was helpful to, to look back and say, oh, we did do fun things. I did do some relaxing things. I did, oh, we, we did vacuum out the car.
And also look at some of these fun things that we did. And I've actually had lots of people say since then that they've started making like a little. Real or video every weekend of theirs. And it's just a really helpful way to see the fun things that you're doing because I think our brains love to focus on the not fun things.
More than the things that we did that were positive. And so it's a, it's an easier way, I think to help your brain focus on those things that you did. I did get to sit down and read five minutes of my book or, we did clean off the back deck and that's something I'm really glad to have gotten off.
Or hey, the grandparents stopped by and we had a little dessert or whatever that is. And I think whether you do it as a video or just make little notes of it, for me, it's been really helpful to document in a really casual way some of the things we've done on the weekends.
Monica: And I would add to that. So that's a good and bookend at the end of just being able to have the affirmation in yourself like. This feels good and it made this kind of difference. And it felt like we did a weekend of nothing. But no, actually, I talked to my kid in a way that we haven't in weeks or months. But also in the front end, like that first weekend is asking this question that you've said too, what do I want more of out of my weekends?
What do I want it to feel like? What do I want it to look like more? And asking that question, I think can be really enlightening for them to really honor their season. But maybe they'll be surprised about what comes up, this is how I want it to feel, and these are the kinds of things I want to do more of.
Those are great tips. Janssen, I wanna know what difference it's made for you and also for the people who are part of your community and who have been trying this more and they've been sharing the reels with you and telling you in the dms like how it's going, what are the differences you're seeing both in yourself and your community members.
Janssen: I think for me it's really helped. Feel one, I feel like it makes me more productive during the week because I wanna protect my weekends more. So instead of feeling like I have this overflow of if I need to do a little extra work, then I could just do it on Saturday. Say I really value keeping my Saturdays pretty open as much as I can.
So if I have the capacity or time, I'm gonna not. Push it off till Saturday or Sunday night or whatever. I'm gonna try and keep it in the week. So just, I think recognizing that you value or want to value the weekends kind of changes how you spend, at least to some degree, your time during the week.
Because it's not just like this slush fund of time, it's, just like if you're going on a vacation, you're gonna try and get all your work done before you go on vacation so that your boss isn't harassing you while you're, trying to enjoy Italy or the beach or whatever. You're like, I want this done before I leave.
So that, just recognizing that I wanna value weekends has helped me act a little differently during the week. In order to make that happen. I think also I've recognized that just that downtime is really important to me more so than productivity. Some weeks I'm better at that than others where I, sometimes I can still feel myself, not so much to do, but I think it's helping me reign that in. Because like most things you get better at better at it as you practice. And so the more I practice treating my weekends more like a vacation, the better I get at it. And some weekends are not gonna be as good, and some weekends are gonna be better.
And to recognize it's not a all or nothing, a weekend that's 60% better is way better than a weekend. That was 0% better, even if it's not a hundred percent. And I think the other thing is, I tried to share ideas for kicking off the weekend in a fun way on Friday. And so I asked people to submit their ideas and it was so fun to see just the wide range of ideas that there were.
Some were pretty Ambitious. They did pretty serious things like, oh, every Friday after school we go get ice cream or the, but then one family is like, when we come home from picking up our kids from school on Friday and come home from work, and we walk from the garage into the house, we all just shout it's Friday.
And it could be so simple. That's a three second thing, but it's just a little, mental. Signal like we are now in a different part of our week. We're acting a little differently. We're gonna spend our time a little differently. It costs you no dollars and virtually no time, but just a way to signal to yourself and to your family.
Okay, now we're in weekend mode. And I love that, that it can be as, as elaborate or simple as you want. And I think I tend to think the more simple and the more able you are to keep it going, the better it's gonna be. If you pick some Friday routine that it just, you're like so expensive or it's so time consuming or it's so draining, you're not likely to keep that up.
If you say, I can handle picking up a little Caesar's pizza every Friday, then I can probably stick with that or saying, yay, it's Friday. Or having a little Friday playlist you play on the way home from work on Friday that says like, all right, now we're in party mode. And so be reasonable about your expectations.
If you're looking for your weekends every weekend to be mimosas and a six hour brunch, and you're just setting yourself up to say, my life is horrible and I can never do the things I want to. Yeah.
Monica: We don't wanna live like that. We want those weekend. No. We want those weekend wins instead.
Yes. Have you gotten any surprising dms about what a difference has made for anyone that you've been like, wow.
I had no idea I could have this much of an effect.
Janssen: One mom sent me a message saying that she started making a little video every weekend, which I was like, whoa, that's impressive. And, but she said, my kids love watching these every weekend. Like now the weekends are something that we look forward to.
Can't wait to see what mom puts in our video for this week. And I think, as, especially if you're the mom, I. You have so much impact on how anything, but in this case, weekends are viewed by the whole family. That doesn't take you certainly don't need to be making a video every weekend, but if you set those family expectations of our weekends have been pretty sad and we could do better and Let's all make some effort and here's some of the things we're gonna do to make weekends better.
I think you really have the opportunity to change, not just your personal dynamic, but the whole family dynamic for what that looks like. Doesn't mean it's gonna be perfect. Kids are still gonna have tantrums on a Saturday and Sunday, just like they do on a Tuesday and Wednesday and and on vacation.
A hundred percent. And so I think, one of the things we say in our family all the time is like, expectations are everything, and so if you have these expectations that suddenly your kids aren't gonna be kids anymore, or that your house is never gonna get messy, or that no one's gonna need food, or, if you recognize It's a weekend.
It's still my real life. Then you can make plans within those constraints.
Monica: Within that. I think wise expectations are everything because it can account for those constraints while also not making you beholden to them forever and ever. Amen. Totally. That's why I loved this conversation you had with your community online so much is because that was the heart of it to me.
Yes, we all have constraints and they are valid, and you can honor those. But you also don't have to live bound completely by them. So let's work within them. Let's find more small wins. Let's take our weekends back. We're the adults, we can figure it out.
Janssen: Yes. I just love that so much because I think if you, I.
It's so easy to say I can't do that because of these health issues or these financial constraints, or because I have kids. And it's not about pretending like that none of those exist because they absolutely do and they absolutely are gonna have a big say in how your weekends look. But to say within these constraints I have.
What wins could I get? What is gonna make the weekend feel better for me, that's manageable. And I think so often, like you said earlier on, that you say oh, let's treat our weekends like vacation, and that's just gonna be a shutdown. I can't even go on vacation at all because I have no money, so how can I, how even treat every weekend like a vacation?
Or I can't leave my child, or whatever those things are. But you could say, What? What would I wanna do on a Saturday that's feasible and can I make that happen? And what would I need to do to make that happen?
Monica: Let's end with one small way they can begin with everything we talked about today.
Janssen: I think a weekend can feel a little overwhelming because you've got from Friday afternoon or evening all Saturday, all Sunday, and then prep to go back to work or school or non weekend life on Monday. That can feel overwhelming to plan, and I think it's easy to feel like.
I just can't even deal with that. There's too much going on. I just don't have the bandwidth to plan two and a half days or make it all just magical and amazing. And I think if you say, what is one thing that would make my weekend feel a little better? And that can be like the tiniest thing that can be like, I just wanna stand on my porch and watch the sunset.
On Saturday night or I just wanna listen to one song that I love that is not a kid's song in the car while I drive to a soccer game. And that if you can identify one small thing you wanna do that would make a weekend feel more weekend and vacation to you, you can add that one thing in.
Monica: This was awesome.
I wanna talk to you more just in real life because I agree, you're so
Janssen: full of wisdom,
Monica: but practical tips and it just all seems like I'm ready to do this and I'm excited to take my weekends back. Janssen, thank you very much for being willing to be here today. Let's tell people where they can go if they wanna take part of your amazing community that you have created.
Janssen: Oh, that's so nice of you. So my blog is the main place. It's everyday -reading.com and then on Instagram is ev is everyday reading. And I do a weekly book club in the summer. It's actually only once a month, but the rest of the year it's every Wednesday and destroys. We do a mix of fiction and nonfiction.
So Happier Hour was our January book and. It's just a lot of fun conversations about the things that are come up in this book, and there's so much good community involvement that I just love seeing how other people love a book, hate a book, have some interesting comment that takes me down a path I never would've thought of with this book.
So that's a really fun place to
Monica: I appreciate all that you do. It's definitely influenced my life for the better. So thank you again.
Janssen: Ah, that's so you. Thank you.
Monica: Fantastic job.
Let's see if it's recording. I do edit so anything
Janssen: dumb I say will just disappear.
Monica: Yeah, it's not you. It's always me. Like nine. Nine times outta 10. It's me. I'm editing, so this is great. All right. Let's do it.