expatNest social distancing weekend

So, any plans for this another-social-distancing weekend?

Although it’s been a year that we’re practising social distancing, weekends remain important. Yes, the restaurants and bars are closed and we should keep at least 1,5 meters distance from people that don’t live in our house, but this doesn’t mean we are not allowed to enjoy our weekends anymore.

To successfully manage our self-isolation, it’s essential to find our new structure, and that includes structuring our weekend differently to our weekdays. Otherwise every day feels the same, and we aren’t able to have different perceptions of time. This principle is important whether you have no (or less) work during this time, or whether you have more work.

During the week, wake up at a decent time, don’t stay in pyjamas all day, and do stick to clear boundaries. During the weekend, unwind, be celebratory, do things that uplift you. Here are some ideas to get you started:

10 ways to enjoy your weekend during social distancing


1. Plan a virtual meet-up (brunch, dinner, coffee)

Last Friday I attended a virtual dinner with a group of women in the Netherlands. In keeping with the theme, we wore red (I wore red lipstick!) and ate together but separately. This experience reminded me that it’s more important than ever to have something to look forward to.

2. Tackle home projects

Fix something, build something, create something. Organize your photos, your wardrobe, your home. Do what you can with the resources you have. Enjoy the satisfaction of completing tasks you’ve been meaning to do for ages.

3. Turn lockdown into slowdown

Weekends allow us to recover and restore. Focus on one activity at a time, and purposefully take longer to do it – inviting a great sense of presence into everything you do. Clearly separate work from personal time, so you can maintain a balance between action and rest. Cut yourself some slack with house chores if you’re handling the kids or supporting elderly parents.

4. Missing entertainment? Livestream it!

Take advantage of the many livestreamed events going on right now. Got a passion for music, dance, yoga, theatre? Local and international organisations are getting really creative with their online offerings (and some are free!).

5. Have a solo or family picnic

This could be in the garden (if you have one), or right there on your apartment floor or at the park, if the weather is good. Be as elaborate as you can: blankets, cushions, music, your favourite food, a slow pace. Have fun!

6. Catch up on your reading or podcasts

With fewer outside distractions, this can be the perfect opportunity to dive deep into that pile of unread books or pending podcasts.

7. Hold a movie night – yes, popcorn time!

Not randomly watching something on Netflix, no. Create a sense of occasion: make popcorn or other snacks and choose a film or series that inspires you. If you have a projector, play the film on your wall for a full cinematic experience.

8. Connect with nature

Follow the cycles of the moon; watch nature documentaries; open the windows wide (just for a moment if it’s cold); notice small displays of nature around you; become an expert on the birds you see; lavish extra attention and care on your house plants. Work in your garden, a lot, if you have one; take long walks at the beach or at the parks around Haarlem.

9. Take a (virtual) trip

If you love to travel, locally or internationally, and have experienced the disappointment of cancelled or postponed trips, here’s a chance to keep the dream alive. Watch a travel documentary about a place you want to visit so you are more prepared when you can go. Or brainstorm plans that you can act on when the time is right and it’s safe to travel again.

10. Cook! Eat!

Use what you have to make something special, and to create a festive holiday feeling in your home. Take the time to explore a new dish, or to make a favourite dish. Enjoy this free time by trying something that takes longer to make. As you work your way through your pantry or freezer, you’ll be amazed at the tasty creations that emerge.


How are YOU spending your weekends during the pandemic? Please share your ideas in the comments below. And remember, these weird times are not going to last forever.


First published on Expat Nest.