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Weekend Wellness

Here's to your upcoming weekend. It's two days. Just two days, and usually over before you've even had a chance to get "dug in" - before you have a chance to display that somewhat goofy, peaceful grin that says "Don't bother me: Right now, at this moment, all is right with the world." Even when things are not right with the world, these moments are even more precious - when the opportunity for something more can emerge.

So to embrace the upcoming weekend before it's come and gone, here are some tips to encourage that prized grin, to help you relax and say "aaah" for those few brief hours you have that are yours and yours alone to do with what you like. Here's hoping you find something new to spark your interest, and strengthen your spirit for the week ahead.

6 Rs for Rejuvenation

1. Restore: As the weekend starts, make sure you've caught up on sleep Friday if you need to, otherwise you'll experience lag time the whole weekend. Who wants those hours to be marred by sleep debt? Sure, blow off some steam on Friday night, but if alcohol is involved, and some kind of gustatory debauchery, a price will likely be paid, especially if you're not 20-something. So take it easy, protect your body, and when you replay your weekend highlights on the drive to work Monday morning, you may find things more vivid, memorable and satisfying if there was some balance in the mix.

Consider: Make getting a sound night's sleep a non-negotiable Friday and Saturday goal (not just a Sunday night one). You'll find this is actually enjoyable, and not a punitive measure, once you see your energy is increased and you have more vibrance in your step. Instead, you can begin the Monday morning commute alert and energized, minus any nagging sleep debt that'll likely force you to "hit the wall" by noon. (Starbucks round 3, anyone?) Fun is more fun on the weekend when you've had adequate rest.

2. Resolve: Make a conscious choice that this weekend, you will experience things in a new way. You may still do some of your favorite activities, but view them with a fresh perspective.

Consider: Perhaps last week at your standing tennis game, your serve didn't serve you well. If you're Type A, try leaving the relentless competitor behind and play with the objective of having fun rather than trouncing your opponent (though you may find you win anyway), or try warming up slightly differently to give your muscles a break from habit. An ingrained posture can limit your scope. It's possible you'll find better flow, your rhomboids won't know what hit them - and you'll find your best serve yet.

3. Reawaken: Find your sense of wonder. Decide to try something different this weekend that moves you beyond routine, and beyond your comfort zone.

Consider: If you've always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon, why not now? Weekend guitarists may like the challenge of writing a song, instead of plucking a few standby tunes they have at-the-ready to play for dinner guests. For that dinner, perhaps try purple Peruvian potatoes if you've never had them - or create an imaginative dessert with Dragonfruit compote. Riff on your Mother's favorite recipe, and see how it turns out. It may bomb, or become a favorite. Either way stretches you.

4. Rebuild: Yourself, and your surroundings.

Consider: Strengthen the body that carries you throughout the week. This doesn't just mean exercise if you haven't visited the gym during the week (which of course shouldn't just be a weekend-warrior task), it means getting a massage for tired muscles, taking time for a spa visit or booking the trim you've been putting off. See how you feel when you put a shine on your shoes, actually use the good stuff tucked away that you never see (silverware, jewelry), and get rid of tired, worn, ripped clothing that looks and feels depleted. (Give to the Goodwill, or keep exclusively for painting the kids' rooms.) Also chip away at little tasks like mending a front door latch that squeaks each time you enter your home (and irritates you just a tiny bit each time). All of this nurtures you and your environment, creating more positive energy that can be tangibly felt over time.

5. Renew: Take a half hour, an hour, or an afternoon or evening to wind down, or stimulate your creativity.

Consider: Listen to evocative music (see list below), or sit under a tree and simply be quiet and listen to the wind, birds, or hum of cicadas. Meditate if you like, or just allow yourself to "be," with no expectations of having to get up and do something productive. At night, try a comedy club and laugh fully, freely, and as often as you wish to - from the gut. (No repressed chuckles.) Maybe take up gardening and plant your favorite herb, or travel a new path either alone or with a loved one (and leave your price-of-gas worries behind). As neurologists report, making a commitment to traveling new paths may help create new pathways in your brain too.

6. Revive: Contact old friends or long-lost acquaintances to catch up. Also, settle any grudges and resentments you may have stored which take energy to hold onto and can clog your weekend with discomfort and a sense of "dis-ease." While self-care is essential to keep your life in tune, good relationships are the notes that comprise the symphony.

Consider: For the brief hours you have each weekend, reach out to those that nurture you, be open to forming new friendships and discover how fulfilling expanding your horizons can be. Perhaps volunteer at a shelter to help socialize the animals. The depth of gratitude reflected in an abandoned cat or dog's eyes alone will be reward enough for stopping by to say hello. Adoption is wonderful, but so is being part of the caring continuum.

Remember, life is short, and weekend time should be more than just a stopgap that never fully satisfies week to week. Here's hoping you find something to bring spontaneity and peace into your life this weekend.

Masterful Music

Antonio Vivaldi - The Four Seasons - (uplifting)

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme - (uplifting)

Ludwig Van Beethoven - Symphony 9, Fidelio Overture (uplifting)

Claude Debussy - Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn - (calming)

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue - (calming)

Johann Pachelbel - Canon in D - (calming)

Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenberg Concertos - (balancing)

Joseph Haydn - Cello Concerto in C, Adagio - (balancing)

Johannes Brahms - Symphony N. 3 in F major - (balancing)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - The Magic Flute - (stimulating)

George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue - (stimulating)

Igor Stravinsky - Rites of Spring - (stimulating)

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