Days off. They’re usually reserved for washing dishes, doing laundry, or paying bills. While all that stuff definitely has to get done (and fast!), doing chores on days off means that they’re not really days off at all. Instead of constantly deluging yourself with errands and cleaning on weekends, take a day to indulge yourself without guilt, even if it’s only once every now and then. Clear your schedule and do one (or all!) of these super-fun activities!
1. Spend the whole day reading and finishing a book
Seriously: turn off social media and keep the TV remote out of arm’s reach. Grab that book you’ve been dying to read for a while, answer no phones, pick a comfy spot, and go from cover to cover. It’s so satisfying to indulge in a book from start to finish, all in one sitting!
2. Pick a place on the map and go
It should be far enough away that it feels like a vacation, but not so far that you can’t make it home easily! Think about 45 minutes to an hour and a half away. Make a list of the things you want to do there and what you’d like to explore. It’ll feel just like a mini-vacation, whether you make it a day trip or stay the night!
3. Have a spa day
Even if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money on luxury spa services, get yourself a mani/pedi or a facial and ask for a ten-minute massage while your nails are drying. It’s relaxing, indulgent, and rejuvenating.
4. Host a movie marathon
Pick a theme — Nicholas Sparks marathon, anyone? — and invite some girlfriends over for the day. Have wine, snacks and drinking games planned, or pause the movie to play a round of Truth or Dare in honor of your younger selves.
5. Have a picnic
Grab a friend or go it alone. Pack a lunch in a paper bag or go full out with a wicker basket. Head to the nearest park with a book or a camera and soak up the sun. Don’t forget the SPF!
6. Plant a garden
This is something most of us mean to do but never get around to doing. I love strawberries and tomatoes for fruits, basil, cilantro and parsley for an herb garden, and arugula and peppers for vegetables. Make a list of the things you eat frequently, and plant accordingly. You’ll love being able to get fresh fruit and veggies just by stepping outside!
7. Go out with a camera
If you don’t have a point-and-shoot, your phone will do. Take a walk around your neighborhood and go very slowly, taking care to notice things you may have overlooked before. Take pictures of anything you find interesting, whether it’s a scraggly tree branch, an interesting pattern of cobblestones, or old-fashioned lampposts. Whenever you think something is interesting, snap a photo.
8. Set yourself a budget and go shopping
Budget shopping is a sneaky way to treat yourself without feeling guilty afterward. Give yourself an allowance and spend exactly that much. No more, no less. Whether you spend it all on a pair of designer shoes, or go for an entire budget-friendly outfit, you’ll finish the day feeling good about indulging. And there’s nothing better than that.
9. Start a journal
Most of us don’t take time out of our daily schedules to reflect. Change that by starting a journal, and writing down what you love in your life right now, what you fear, what your goals are, and all the little perfect and imperfect moments that make up your days.
10. Cook an extravagant meal of all of your favorite things
Pick a recipe you’ve never had time to try out but have always wanted to, especially if it’s one that takes a little longer than usual. It may be braised lamb shank, garlic mashed potatoes and bacon kale, a dessert of flourless chocolate cake, or something equally scrumptious! Really kick things up a notch by creating an appetizer such as crostini; don’t be afraid to play around with some of your favorite ingredients. Cook for yourself, your SO, or your best friend.
11. Learn something you didn’t know before
Days off are perfect for doing things you never have time to do. Try to learn the rudimentary basics of a new language, sign up for an online lecture you can listen to on your own time (like the ones at The Great Courses), or pick up a new hobby, like painting or sewing.
12. Get moving
Whether you’re dancing to Taylor Swift in your living room, calling on a friend to teach you some cool yoga positions or giving Zumba a shot, get up and get moving! You never know, you might uncover a secret talent! Or some new dance moves to bust out in the privacy of your own home.
13. Go to a museum or art installation
Take in some culture! Go to a local museum that’ll teach you all about the history of your city, or visit an art gallery and get to know the artists in your area.
14. Volunteer or donate to charity
Walk dogs at the animal shelter, volunteer at the soup kitchen, or go through your closet and put together items you can donate to Goodwill – a double win!
15. Go to lunch or dinner—by yourself
Embrace your solitude and let yourself have anything you want on the menu!
16. Drink an entire bottle of wine
Slowly. And not out of the bottle. This might be an awesome way to bond with your best friends or significant other. Have the entire bottle and get ready for some deep conversation… or just binge-watch reality TV!
17. Go on a self-organized food tasting
Pick a type of food, from steak tacos to lobster rolls to bacon cheeseburgers. Go to at least five places, try one at each stop and share with your friends which one you think is the best (and divide up the food so you don’t get insanely full!).
Your days off should be stress free, so plan on spending those days focusing on you, and what you love doing. Whether it’s just one day on the weekends, during a long weekend or just a few hours a week, using your time off to actually relax will help you feel refreshed and ready to take on the days that you don’t have off!