7 Hacks to Help You Make Your Day Off a More Meaningful One

Be inspired to plan ahead for a transformative day off work.

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Your long-awaited day off work is just around the corner. So how should you spend this precious downtime? Here are some ideas of things to do when you check out from work mode, so you end the day rejuvenated and feeling you’ve achieved something! Take your pick!

Get outside!

Dr. Quin Li, researcher and author of a world-renowned book on “forest bathing”,  focuses on the positive, health-boosting experience of walking in nature. He points out that the average American spends more than 90 percent of their time indoors, when people are designed to be connected to the natural world, to “listen to the wind and taste the air”.

Planting a garden is something most of us mean to do but never get around to doing.  List what you eat often and plant it! Take your pick of strawberries and tomatoes for fruits, arugula and peppers for vegetables, and cilantro, basil and parsley for a herb garden to enjoy fresh produce just by stepping outside.

Or bring the outside in with an indoor garden.Getting out of town via a journey of around 45-90 minutes is also a recipe for re-energizing your life. Just pick a place on the map and go! List the things you want to do there and explore. It will feel like a mini vacation. If your day off is tagged to a weekend, consider staying the night.

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Embrace idleness!

So many of us are exhausted by our jam-packed schedules, the commute and the sensation that we’re in a  permanent state of “busyness”. There is a strong case for just doing nothing - what the Dutch call niksen. This is different to mindfulness, eating healthy, exercise and binging on TV series. It’s a conscious effort to distance ourselves from anxiety and an “always-on” state of being.

“Laziness” has its benefits. Studies show that daydreaming, a consequence of idleness, spurs creativity. Psychologist, Dr. Sandi Mann, has studied the positive outcomes of doing nothing much at all! According to her research, daydreaming plays the role of mediator between boredom and creativity: “It literally makes us more creative, better at problem-solving, better at coming up with creative ideas, “she explains.

Enjoy a meal with family

Take time to dine with those closest to you. Work, school, and after-school activities like sports practice so often get in the way. Research shows that families who share meals at home are happier and healthier.

In the US, around 70 percent of meals are eaten outside the home reveals Harvard University’s Family Dinner Project.

According to co-founder, psychologist Anne Fishel, the goal should just be to find as many opportunities to dine together as a family as possible. For her, the “secret sauce” of family dinner is the conversation, the games and the fun at the table.

Part of a great meal is the prep. Baking, for instance, which isn’t something you can easily rush and so is hard to slot into a busy week. And there’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread!

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Disconnect to reconnect, at least for part of the day

The average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their smartphone. Millennials spend slightly more time on their phones (5.7 hours) compared to baby boomers (5 hours) on average.

However 13% of millennial and 5% of boomers admit to spending over 12 hours every day on their phones.

It may feel strange, but just put your phone down! Airplane mode is your friend. Switch it on to avoid the temptation of notifications pinging away and let the battery run out.

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Do that that one thing you keep putting off

Your day off is the perfect day to just get niggling things done. Whether it’s sending that thank you note your keep putting off, or calling a neighbor, finally getting it done  feels satisfying.

Why not dedicate an hour to clearing out?Taking the time to go through your belongings to weed out the things you don’t need can “spark joy”, believes organizing guru, Marie Kondo, and helps you feel more balanced.

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Build in a treat

Make your relaxing day feel a little more special by indulging in an extra-long shower, enjoying a delicious snack, or curling up with a book. Dedicating time to simple pleasures will make you smile.

For some, embracing their solitude allows them to reset and relax. Go to lunch solo and spoil yourself to anything on the menu. Alternatively, catching up with friends over lunch or coffee is an opportunity to share positive experiences and discuss challenges. Building stronger relationships can help you cope with anxiety too.

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Volunteer to help others

Why not donate your time to help the world? There are documented benefits to you as well as the people you’re helping. With Good Deeds Day coming up in the spring, find more inspo here.

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