5 Ways To Make the Most of a Day Off

Outdoor Kids

Most importantly on your day off, make sure you do something nurturing for yourself. Meghan J. Ward

Most importantly on your day off, make sure you do something nurturing for yourself. Meghan J. Ward

When was the last time you used up lieu time or PTO at work, got a babysitter, or kept a day empty in your planner?

If it’s been a while, it’s time to create some space in your life. Whether you’re busy with work, in the middle of moving, or up to your eyeballs with parental demands, it’s important to take a break in order to gain some perspective, de-stress and do something nurturing for yourself.

While it may seem daunting to take a day off (I don’t have time for time off!), giving yourself more than just a few hours to decompress will be infinitely more helpful to you in the long run. You’ll probably find you are more productive and less anxious when you jump back into the swing of things again. You’ll also be doing yourself a favor by keeping burnout at bay.

Make it a lazy day and don’t do anything, or escape into the great outdoors for some exercise and solitude. And if you’re seeking a well-balanced day at home, these tips will give you some direction:

  1. Make a Plan and Do the “Doing” First

If you like to feel productive, map out your day, and set a few goals that you’d like to accomplish. Knowing you completed something will give you a sense of satisfaction—even if it’s writing snail mail back to a friend or reorganizing your outdoor equipment. Handle anything “tasky” on your list first so that when you set off to restore yourself (#4) you won’t be distracted.

  1. Set a Timer and Blitz Clean

Can’t do anything else if the house is messy? Just get her done. Clean like a maniac for a pre-determined amount of time. Get rid of paperwork off your desk, put dishes away, vacuum, make the bed—whatever you have to do to give yourself a clean slate. When time is up, leave the rest for another day.

  1. Take Some Pressure Off the Future

Put one item on your plan that will make your life easier in the week ahead, whether it’s making a phone call, getting groceries, doing meal prep, or making another list for the week. Don’t go nuts with this one, though. It should make you feel good about the week ahead, not suck you into the vortex of your “To Do” list.

  1. Restore Yourself and Enjoy Guilty Indulgences

Schedule in a sleep-in, yoga class, bike ride, afternoon nap, short hike, or spa treatment—anything that makes you happy, helps you relax, and takes your mind off things. Build your day around this and make it your top priority. Guilt often creeps in the moment you take a step away from “what you’re supposed to be doing.” Don’t let it! Remind yourself that you need and deserve it.

  1. Plan Your Next Day Off

Once you’re back into the daily grind it’s easy to get lost amidst the demands on your time. Put some white space in your calendar while you are enjoying the benefits of decompression mode. You, and only you, are responsible for giving yourself the break you need to find balance, so schedule in that time off and treat it as sacred.

What helps you make the most of a day off?

Last modified: September 5, 2015

2 Responses to :
5 Ways To Make the Most of a Day Off

  1. Molly Mulhern says:

    I think our language is all wrong….these should be “days on” and those other ones “days off!”

    1. I see what you’re saying, but to me this is just the world we love in! I am the mother of a 17-month-old, and there is no such thing as a day off unless you create it. Part of it is accepting that days will be full and demanding, and also learning how to decompress from it all. As far as overworking goes, I am with you! Who invented the 40 hour work week anyway!?

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