By: Sally Rinehart
From school, to work, to family life, pressures and deadlines leave us needing time for a break.
On a day off, planning can be the last thing on our minds. But what if I told you that planning your day off can be more beneficial and revitalizing than you could have ever imagined?
Without knowing what you are going to do, a relaxing day can easily become stressful. You lay in bed, struggling to make a list of what you promised yourself you would do (or not do) and how to be productive. Sure, doing a few loads of laundry while binge watching Orange is the New Black can be a great day spent, but you are not fully experiencing it like you could be. And with free time being so precious, why not give yourself the best day off?
I’m not saying there is one ideal (planned) day off, but most of us forget that the simple things in life are the ones that bring us the most joy and connect us to one another. Below are some ideas to help give you the best day off experience, leaving you revitalized, refreshed and ready for anything!
Be Grateful For The Day
It is important to take time to be grateful for the things we do have.
Consciously setting aside time to be grateful seemed like a silly thing to do at first, but when I began to make it a part of my regular morning regiment, I was amazed by the positive impact it made on my perception. Spending most of our time dwelling on the mistakes of our past or worrying about unforeseen problems in the future can make it hard for us to live in the present. However, spending time being grateful can put us in the moment and allow our brains to take a break from all that worry.
Pick three things you are truly grateful for and spend 5-10 minutes reflecting on them each morning. This perspective shift will allow you to start your day with reaffirming thoughts!
Yoga is the best way to relax your body and mind, giving you more energy throughout the day while bringing up your dopamine levels.
You can find free videos online or go to your local yoga studio and take a Beginner’s Class, (I’ve found ones as cheap as five bucks)! You don’t have to be a yoga guru to enjoy yoga. In fact, for the longest time, I decided to go against the yoga craze. I thought to myself, "Who wants to be relaxed all the time?" Alas, I eventually succumbed to the pressure. A good friend kept insisting I try it and shuffled me into her yoga studio. At first I felt uncomfortable. I couldn’t focus on myself and I definitely couldn’t hold a pose to save my life… but then, I started breathing. I learned something very important about myself that day. I hadn’t really been breathing for years… and, when I finally started to, I began to cry. I didn’t even know what the tears meant at that moment, but as I began to enjoy the rest of my day I felt more focused (and, yes, relaxed) than I had in years. The thing is, stretching and breathing releases all the tension we all forget to let go of. When we finally learn to relax, we can think more clearly, because stress can be one of our biggest distractions.
Play, Discover and Explore a Park or Museum or Landmark
The point is to spend more time getting lost in your own city! Most of us never visit the most popular “places to visit” where we live because lets face it, who has time for that? Wait, you're off today, so YOU do!
Whether you take a walk in your local park, stroll along through a beautiful neighborhood or visit a museum or landmark, get to know the city you call home. Be a tourist for a day and really explore what your surroundings have to offer. You might fall in love all over again or discover parts of the city you never thought you would enjoy. We are all constantly learning what we like, and exploring is the best way to find new activities that bring us joy. Want to save some money while doing it? Check out Groupon and see if they have a coupon for something that might interest you!
Read an Article or Short Story
It doesn't matter if you grab a blanket and snuggle up on your couch or grab your skateboard and head to the library, just read!
Reading can be therapeutic, and as it isn’t just mindless entertainment, it is time well spent on something that will enrich you and your life experiences. Sure reading is work, but it will energize and help expand your mind. Did you know when you are reading or learning something new, that you start creating more brain cells? Really, it’s called Neurogenesis! Your mind is actually growing (in brain cells at least) and that can give you the boost you need to have a more productive week. Add some "brain boosters" like green tea and blueberries into the mix and you’ve got yourself a Neurogenesis party!
Do Something You Love
I’m not saying do something that makes you feel good for the moment. I’m talking about passion, inspiration, something that drives you.
Passion usually requires some sort of work whether we realize it or not. It could be playing a sport or participating in an outdoor activity. For some people it's helping the homeless or visiting an animal shelter. Some people are more of the creative type like: artists, writers, or musicians.
Whatever it may be, these passions are a large part of what makes us individuals, and we can’t forget about them. Pick an activity you haven’t done in a long time and spend a couple hours enjoying it. If you are still discovering your passions, puzzles and coloring books are a perfect activity on a day off, and are sure to bring out the inner childlike creativity we have all lost along the way!
Be Somewhat Productive
Do you have laundry to do, dishes in the sink, groceries to buy? Has your busy schedule only allowed for you to do these things on your day off? Don’t feel overwhelmed, prioritize yourself to better finish the tasks at hand.
A dish in the sink isn’t usually as much of a priority. Clean laundry is needed for the week ahead, so sort through it and see what you really need for work. Grocery shopping can save you time and money while running to your next appointment. Buy a week worth of groceries so you can have some easy-to-reach meals, while allowing less room for food to spoil. By planning ahead and prioritizing, you can be more productive in much less time, allowing yourself to rest easier and take some things off your plate.
Tips For Your Day Off
- Don’t be so hard on yourself; no one is perfect
- Laughter is the easiest way to a smile
- Feed your soul with things that make your heart flutter
- Never forget to take the time to really breathe