While the rest of the world seems to live for the weekends, I noticed a few years back that when I was depressed, the weekends would often make me feel even more depressed. I’ve discovered some reasons for this and what we can do to feel better on the weekends.
Why We Feel More Depressed on Weekends
We Lack Structure. During the week, we often have our days structured. Moving from task to task, place to place, our days are filled and we are in motion. Even if we don’t love our jobs, being busy can help to keep our minds off of our troubles. On the weekends, especially when we are depressed, we will tend to not plan activities. This lack of structure can make us feel more depressed.
We Lack Social Interaction. When depressed, social interactions can be more difficult. Wanting to do what’s comfortable, we will have the tendency to isolate ourselves. And, if we don’t need to go to work, we will often choose to sleep or stay in rather than spend time with others. Human beings were meant for social interaction, and this isolation over the weekend can increase our depressive symptoms.
We Compare Ourselves to Others. When we’re depressed, we often don’t have the energy or desire to do the things we used to enjoy. When we compare our depressed lives to the lives of others who are on the go, being social, and doing all of the things we used to do, we can feel even more depressed.
How to Combat Weekend Depression
Create a Weekend Schedule Ahead of Time. Add structure to your weekend so that you’ll have things to look forward to and less time to let your thoughts just wander. You might find that adding just one activity each morning and one activity each afternoon can help to lift your spirits. However, if you’re feeling severely depressed, I would recommend scheduling an activity for each hour. Even checking off activities such as eat breakfast, take a shower, and buy groceries can give you a sense of accomplishment and help you to feel better.
Make Plans for Social Interaction. While it can be tempting to stay in and isolate, we’ve already seen that this approach can do more harm than good. Before you get to the weekend, make plans to be social. If you’re depressed, you’re most likely not up for hosting a party, so meet yourself where you are. Invite a friend out for coffee. Or find a group on Meetup.com that you can attend. Being around others, in real life, can help to alleviate your depressive symptoms.