Time to Rethink Saturday as a “Reward Day”
In Western culture, Saturday is often seen as a reward of sorts for making it through the week. For those with traditional 9-to-5s, it’s the one day of the week you have entirely to yourself that is followed by another day entirely to yourself.
Even if you don’t have a Monday-Friday schedule, you probably grew up viewing Saturday as a reward day, because you didn’t have to go to school. It was a day of freedom, of indulgence, of being able to do what you want to do.
By no means am I asking you to give up Saturday as a reward day. You earned it and you deserve it! I am simply inviting you to look at the kinds of rewards you give yourself on Saturday and consider replacing them with new rewards that are better for your body, mind, and soul.
We’re conditioned to indulge in activities that are bad for us on Saturdays
I remember when I was 10 years old. I’d get up at 6 in the morning, pour myself a Coke in the biggest glass I could find, then sit in front of the TV. I’d start off watching the variety show Kids Are People Too, followed by cartoons Godzilla, The Smurfs, The Bugs Bunny Show, and Fat Albert. My mom would often bring home a box of warm glazed donuts and I’d help myself to several.
In my 20s, I’d sleep until noon, hours later than normal. I’d hit the club until late at night, which was fun but it left me absolutely worn out on Sunday.
In my 30s, I might walk to the Mexican restaurant down the street for lunch or dinner. I’d order a big ol’ plate of brown-and-yellow food with some exotic name like “Mexican Combination №24.” It would be way more than I needed but I’d always shovel down the enchiladas, tacos, and burritos anyway. Of course, a couple of jumbo frozen margaritas helped the food go down smoother.
Do your Saturday rewards resemble mine? There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself. However, you might want to ask: Are the majority of “rewards” you give yourself on Saturday things that are bad for you?
Are your “rewards” actually escapes?
Also ask yourself this: Are the things you do on Saturday escape valves from the stress you encounter Monday-Friday?
By the time I was 10, I had figured out that the main point of school was to turn out compliant little mini-adults who would make one day become model company men and women. I hated school. So, yeah, my giant glass of Coke and my Saturday cartoons were an escape from that.
In my 20s, sleeping late and clubbing was my escape from grad school.
In my 30s, my big Mexican dinners and margaritas were not so much a reward for getting through another week at work as they were an escape from it. By indulging myself, I was forgetting for a few fleeting moments that I was unhappy with what I did five days a week.
Be honest with yourself. Write down what a routine looks like on a typical Saturday. Of course, part of the day will be groceries, laundry, chores you have to get done. However, examine the other parts of the day — are you doing things that are genuinely rewarding, or are you doing them as an escape from the Not-Saturday part of the week?
What you can do instead
I list this one first-off because we’re on a platform for writers. Do you have trouble with writer’s block? I bet if you can make yourself churn out a story on a Saturday, you’ll find it easier to write and publish the other six days of the week.
You could also write in a personal journal. Spend an hour recapping the major things that happened to you this week and how you feel about them. Have a conversation with yourself, on paper. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn about yourself if you do this consistently.
Are you lucky enough to have a grandparent who is still alive? Why not write them a letter? No, not an email. A real, physical letter, written by pen on paper, placed in an envelope with a stamp and mailed. No matter how connected to the Internet they are, they will be thrilled to get an unexpected letter from you.
Picking up a book (even if it’s a book stored on your phone) and reading is so much more nurturing for your soul than picking up the remote control and flipping on the TV. Whether you’re into fiction, nonfiction, biography, or what have you, spending some time reading is a rewarding way to spend a Saturday.
You don’t even have to read a book! You’re on a website that is a bounty of reading riches. You could find a topic you have not explored in-depth before; here’s a list. (Personal note: When I want to indulge in some good reading, I hit the True Crime topic.)
Learn something new
The Internet is full of resources that will help you pick up just about any hobby you choose. For example, you could
- Learn to play the piano
- Learn yoga from a video for beginners
- Learn to make beautiful images in Photoshop. If you don’t want to pay for Photoshop, you can get the open-source image creation tool The GIMP for free.
- Learn how to make sushi
- Learn HTML, the language of websites
Get outside and get moving
Getting out and moving around is good for your soul as well as your body. Here are a few ideas:
- Take a nature hike through a state park
- Play a round of golf, or disc golf
- Explore your neighborhood with a bike ride
- Search for outdoor fitness classes in your area and sign up for one
You can still keep your indulgent reward too if you want…
… But make it a reward for treating yourself to a reward on the list above, or a reward inspired by the list.
Successfully published an article or a blog post on a Saturday? Congratulations, go get that venti Frappucino if you’re in the mood.
Read three chapters in your book? Good for you, go ahead and turn on the game.
Learn a new song on the guitar? If you want to pour yourself a cocktail, you’ve earned it.
Selecting rewards that are truly rewarding
We’re conditioned from a young age to reward ourselves on Saturday for having made it through the rest of the week. However, we’re also conditioned to pick rewards for ourselves that are not just indulgent, but unhealthy.
Instead, pick rewards that enrich the mind, body, and spirit. Some of these include writing, reading, learning something new, and getting outside. Of course, there are many more. Your soul will guide you whether a reward is truly good for you.
In addition, you can reward the reward! Once you spend part of your Saturday being kind to your soul, it’s fine to have a balance and treat yourself to a little mindless entertainment or something yummy.
How are you going to reward yourself this Saturday? Feel free to sound off in the comments.
Let’s keep in touch! Feel free to sign up for my newsletter. Bonus tip: Practicing gratitude is a wonderful Saturday reward. Here’s an article about that: