When you get a day off it can be hard to know what to do. Sure, you've got errands to run, but shouldn't you be making the most of your "me time"? In the end, indecision and poor planning can lead to a day on the couch with none of your personal business taken care of and nothing done to truly help you recharge for work. Instead of submitting to analysis paralysis, follow these five tips for making the most of the time you have for yourself.
Organize Your Errands
If a day off is a rarity for you, you probably have a lot of errands waiting in the queue. Don't bog your whole day down with errands, instead pick the two or three most important things to get done, or set a time limit for how long you're willing to commit to errands and then stick to it. Batch together items, like running to the store, post office and hardware store or doing the laundry and cleaning the kitchen.
Make time in your schedule for meals and decide whether you want to eat out or make something. Often, people return to work feeling worse than they left because of poor eating choices or having one too many drinks. By making your meal prep part of your scheduled errands, you'll set yourself on a path for good choices.
Once you've got the less fun stuff out of the way, it won't weigh on your mind the rest of the day and you'll be able to relax and truly enjoy your time away from work. Do something to make your day off special for yourself. That could mean enjoying a long bath with fancy shaving cream, candles and a glass of wine, but remember that what works for you doesn't have to be an Instagram-worthy moment. If you don't like baths, the fancy setup probably isn't going to help you relax. Instead, focus on what you consider a treat. If you love your morning coffee ritual, up your game with a french press. Maybe go for a massage after your usual workout. Take an hour to start that book that's been on your TBR for months. Anything works that makes you feel like you're doing something special for you.
There's plenty of research out there on the value of movement. You should definitely be getting up from your desk each hour and walking around but your day off gives you an opportunity to indulge in longer exercise. Movement reduces stress, reduces blood pressure and can keep you from experiencing burnout at work. Studies have shown that yoga is especially effective in increasing sleep quality and reducing burnout, apart from its value as a strengthening exercise. Besides yoga, anything that gets you outside is good. Getting back to nature has similar values for reducing stress and improving your mood. Just taking a walk is good, but getting out in nature with a hike is better. With a small investment, you can kayak, biking or rock climbing too.
Unplug From Social Media
Whether you're a person likely to experience FOMO when friends are doing something fun or you just spend too much time scrolling, social media isn't a good way to spend your time off. It gives you none of the benefits of self-care or exercise and none of the feelings of accomplishment you get from completing your errands. For the majority of people, social media is a disconnect of mindless scrolling and a way to separate themselves from what is actually going on. Whether you are communing with nature or cuddling with your family and pets, be present for the moment and enjoy it while it lasts rather than trying to catch it in images or share the feeling through words.
If you simply can't remove yourself from social media, set yourself a specific time and a time limit for viewing, posting and responding. If necessary, leave your phone behind while you're on your walk. Other options to stop mindless scrolling are to remove social media icons from your phone's home screen or turn off all notifications.
For some people, the previous options will take all day, but if you find yourself with time on your hands, here are a few other things you can do with your time off that can add value to your life. Consider volunteering. You'll have to do some planning for this one, but giving back to your community is a great way to pay it forward.
Plan for your future. Use your time off to evaluate where you are and where you'd like to be. If you aren't happy with your job this can be a great time to update your resume and send in some applications.
While it might seem counterintuitive, one of the best ways to enjoy a day off is to plan for it. Even if you don't stick to the plan 100%, you're more likely to feel good about your life and going back to work the next day.