A man in a sun hat enjoying his beachfront view.

For many, a long weekend is a lifeline. That extra day or two on top of your usual Saturday-Sunday break can feel like a mini vacation. Moreover, it offers a sustained reprieve from the nine-to-five grind without eating into your hard-earned (yet limited) leaves.

No doubt, extended do wonders for your health. Taking a week off to travel, spend time with family, and reset your headspace feels like chugging a happiness tonic. It's instant, unfiltered bliss that soothes your stressed spirit. When it's over, you feel rejuvenated and prepared to hustle until the next.

However, some experts argue that shorter and more frequent breaks – like long weekends every month or so– might be even better for you. U.S.-based psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert compares it to having eight hours of shut-eye every night vs. binge-sleeping on your days off.

The latter is a short-term boost, while the former is more sustainable and beneficial in the long run. You feel more relaxed when you're getting enough rest regularly.

Thankfully, Filipinos have numerous government-mandated non-working days to look forward to. No need to wait until the holiday season to enjoy some much-deserved leisure time! Got a long weekend coming up? Here's why you should lean into it and what to do when it finally rolls around.

How Long Weekends Boost Health and Happiness

Stress activates your body’s fight-or-flight response: a survival mechanism that mentally prepares you to face or flee from danger. Early humans relied on it to survive life-threatening situations, like animal attacks or natural disasters. Unfortunately, the modern mind can’t distinguish those from relatively minor stressors, like tackling your to-do list.

As such, most people live in a constant state of stress. It goes beyond feeling panicky about deadlines or meetings. Chronic stress can increase blood pressure, weaken the heart and immune system, and impact digestion. It negatively alters one’s brain chemistry, leading to mental health problems like depression or anxiety. On top of that, it can make it harder to think clearly or be productive.

If you don’t once in a while, those symptoms worsen. Vacations relieve some of the pressure, giving your mind and body the space to heal from stress. As a result, it’s easier to manage burnout, calm your nervous heart, and keep a level head, no matter what comes your way.

5 Things to Do on Your Next Long Weekend

Unlike week-long vacations, a three-day weekend doesn’t typically require much planning. One less thing to think about, right? You can freestyle your break and do whatever sounds fun when you wake up on Saturday morning. But if you’re a planner, here are a few ideas you can start with.

1. Engage in outdoor activities.

The benefits of extend beyond their physical perks. Yes, shooting hoops with your buds can strengthen heart health, reduce your risk for chronic diseases, and keep you fit. But working up a sweat also releases feel-good hormones (a.k.a. endorphins) that .

Just make sure to shower after! Practicing is essential for mental health management, too. Wash up with the LIFEBUOY Antibacterial Soap Total 10 to banish 99% of germs (outdoor spaces are teeming with them!), and stay fresh with Dove Men+Care Extra Fresh Body and Face Wash. It's cool, comforting, and hydrating – like a glass of ice-cold water for your skin!

2. Go on a day trip and enjoy local spots.

You don't have to go far if you'd rather skip traffic jams. Ask around and discover hidden gems in your area! Are there any new restaurants you've been meaning to try? Is there a café nearby that looks made for lounging? Block off an afternoon to explore everything your community has to offer.

3. Catch up on life admin tasks.

No one wants to do on their day off, but you'll thank yourself later for getting them done when there was time to spare. Buckle down for an hour or two to take care of pending bills, write your grocery list, schedule personal appointments, and so on. Getting them out of the way now means they won't take up any more of your headspace, and you can enjoy your weekend worry-free.

4. Work with your hands, away from screens.

The average person spends at least six hours a day . If your job requires you to work on a computer, that number is likely even higher. Take this opportunity to do a digital detox and go analog. Play board games with friends, make sculptures out of air-dry clay, build – whatever floats your boat! Sensory activities can be incredibly grounding, which helps with mindfulness.

5. Embrace whatever makes you feel recharged.

Seeking low-effort ways to restore yourself is normal, especially if your weekdays are overwhelming. So, don’t feel pressured to be active, go out, and try new hobbies, just because it works for other people. Sometimes, all you need is . Stay in, get lots of sleep, and turn off your notifications. If you get what you need out of it, you're not wasting your precious weekend!

Ultimately, a long weekend should be about recharging your batteries. Let yourself unwind and forget about stressors. Any non-essential responsibilities can wait. Your rest days are all yours!