Do You Get The Weekend Blahs?

Weekends can be a challenge when you have ADHD.  This might sound counterintuitive, as surely the stressors of a busy work week are trickier than a leisurely weekend

However, ADHDers can find unstructured time unsettling.  Although you might resist the idea of structure, people with ADHD actually do very well with it.

One of my clients joined the army and sent me an email to let me know how he was getting on. He wrote that army life involved doing all the things he hated: waking up very early, intense exercise and eating food he didn’t like.

Yet he explained he had never felt so happy. He was thriving on the structure.

You don’t have to join the army to have structure in your life! During the week, there is a natural routine and rhythm. You go to work,  head to the gym or do after work activities, have supper, watch your favorite show and then it’s bed time.

When the weekend arrives, that  structure and  external accountability disappears. You might have been looking forward to the weekend all week. Yet now that it’s here, instead of feeling happy and relaxed, you find yourself feeling lethargic, depressed and unmotivated. You mope around for 2 days and then ping, Monday morning arrives and you feel alive and in go mode again.

Why does this happen? Well, the ADHD brains needs a certain level of stimulation. Without it you slip into that low energy, flat mood and bored state. Once you are there, it is hard to get out of as nothing seems interesting to you.

The opposite of this blah mood is to feel energized and mentally alert. When you have stimulating and interesting things happening, your executive functions in the brain snap into place, and your brain works super well.

Weekends are the perfect time to relax and recharge your batteries in order to be physically healthy. This means  you don’t want to have an action packed weekend and feel exhausted on Monday.

How do you have a relaxing but stimulating weekend?

The answer is a semi-structured weekend!

Having some structure allows you to appreciate your downtime without slipping into the lethargy.

It is a combination of activities with other people, time to take care of necessary activities like housework and some downtime to relax.

For example, you might have a weekly brunch date with friends on Saturday morning and a Sunday morning run with your running club.  Those activities are preplanned and give you a framework to hang other activities. After brunch you might find yourself running errands since you are out of the house already. After your run, you might be feeling energized so you can do a load of laundry, including the running clothes.

There is still time to do chillaxing activities, however, don’t leave those to chance. During the week keep track of things that capture your attention. If a movie looks interesting, write it down. If there is  topic you want to research on the internet, write it down too. When you have some free downtime and wondering what to do you can look at your list. Don’t wait till you get into that low grade depressed state. Start your activities before that happens.

Be careful! On this activities list do not include things that feel like work, such
as decorating, taxes or, decluttering. Those items do need to be taken care of; however, they don’t count as fun things. If you include those items,  you could find yourself going into procrastination mode and end up feeling bad about yourself.

Introverts might be tempted to skip socializing time. However, social contact is an important component of escaping the weekend blahs. If you are an introvert, it is still recommended to  have some social time, just make it a short visit with a positive person that you genuinely love spending time with.

Wishing you a very happy semi-structured weekend! How are you going to spend yours?



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  1. Laura says:

    Another brilliant and really helpful article. Am going to keep a little box of notes of all those things I think of doing when I need to be doing something else and then forget I can do when I have downtime.
    Thanks so much for all you do, Jacqueline – your work has helped me so much and just makes me feel like things are actually possible. So grateful 🙂

  2. Bjack says:

    Same here, the key is routine and schedule (although scheduling can be monotonous). Thats why if you can set up your calendar to repeat things it really helps. For me at least when I have to type in an event that I know, “I probably will do” it becomes a question of how much I want to bore myself typing it out. I recently set aside some time and did this….cant comment on the results yet. Also making plans with friends AHEAD of time can do wonders for that uplifting feeling. A few things I do is go to websites and incorporate their calendar into my google calendar…I believe it is called ical (or internet calendar)…no typing ha ha!

  3. Heather says:

    Good ideas! I veg out and read whenever I can. .guess I need to set a schedule to take care of those nagging tasks. Thx! =)

    • Jacqueline Sinfield says:

      Hi Heather, great idea to schedule your tasks and then you can read as a reward. Plus, when you do read you can do it without feeling guilty about looming tasks. By the way, reading is a wonderful and healthy way to relax!

  4. I definitely get the weekend blahs. Like your article suggests, I made myself a loose weekend schedule last year. Every Saturday I go to brunch. That small routine works wonders for me. I look forward to saturdays, and morning brunch gives me purpose and direction in my day.

  5. Wow! Yes! This is exactly how I feel! I never made the connection between the lack of structure and my recently diagnosed ADHD though. Thank you!

    I’ve recently recognized that I do need some time each day where I can “aimlessly do whatever comes to mind.” However, two whole days is apparently way too much. I do have some structure with church on Sundays, but I probably do need more–much more. I need to spend some time thinking about this now and what I can institute to help here. Thanks again!

    • Jacqueline Sinfield says:

      Hi Ricky
      So happy to hear this article helped. I love that you know each day you need some ‘“aimlessly do whatever comes to mind” time. Its important to refuel your mental batteries. Let me know what other planned activities you decide to do along with Church.

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