Self-development

The Gift of a Day Off: How to Properly Enjoy It

by Kinga Lewandowska — 5 min read

The Gift of a Day Off: How to Properly Enjoy It

Although time is a relative concept, it has been divided into blocks for our convenience to build our lives around months, days and hours. Subtract some of those chunks for sleep and work, and what’s left is blissful free time. Every moment above ground is a blessing, yet a day off feels especially like a gift. And it’s necessary like the air to breathe.

Our hectic modern lifestyles force us to run faster and further until we fall flat on our face with exhaustion. There’s only so much we can take before our body and mind demand rest. A single day off has the power to rebuild you, recenter you, and reconnect you with your purpose. Sounds good? Here’s how to spend your free time to regain mental and physical stamina you need in order to become the best version of yourself.

When To Press Pause

Life should not be a race. If we rush through every day without a break, we’ll miss the whole point of living: to be in awe of the beauty of this world, to love, to be happy and… (insert here what is most essential to you). We’re ambitious, driven (we’re looking directly at you, type A personalities), and we have a hard time slowing down. Yet, once in a while a pause will help us reevaluate what success even means to us. Rest is equally important to making dreams come true as hard work. Hence, the first step to an efficient day off is realizing we need one (or two, or seven). When in doubt, listen carefully to your body and mind for signs of fatigue – that’s your cue for leisure time.

A day off is the free time that is entirely under your control that you may shape and mold to your liking. Do whatever your heart desires to do (which includes doing completely nothing). Take a deep breath and follow what brings you the most joy and satisfaction. What if nothing comes to mind, you ask? We hear you and we got your back. Read on.


Chores, Errands, And All That Jazz

It needs to be said and gotten out of the way – a day off is great for catching up with anything that you didn’t manage to take care of during the working week. Mountains of laundry waiting to be folded? House plants asking for watering? Personal email piling up? Now’s the time, no more procrastinating. Do the mundane activities as soon as possible, and you will still have plenty of free hours in your day off. Otherwise, the to-do list will hang above your head like a dark cloud to suck all the joy out of your leisure time.

Staring Up At The Ceiling

We’re here today to convince you that doing nothing is not only permitted but very beneficial, especially to our creativity. Uninterrupted, unscheduled time for your mind to roam freely can perform miracles for productivity, efficiency, imagination and inspiration. No wonder we have our breakthrough ideas in the shower where no distractions can reach us (and yes, this valuable insight also came to us in the shower).

If you need a blessing, Professor Alan Lightman, physicist at MIT and writer, has plenty to say in defense of quiet, seemingly unproductive, alone time. In his book In Praise of Wasting Time, he describes disengagement and doing nothing as one of the best strategies for creativity and innovation, providing examples of notable figures like Albert Einstein, Carl Yung or Gertrude Stein as time-wasting advocates.

Allow yourself to breathe, be lazy for 30 minutes, an hour or two, or the entire day – experiment. Let your thoughts run wild, invite your memories to come to the surface, permit your mind to form new connections between emotions and conclusions. This is how you tap into your inner wisdom – let it speak.

"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." ― Marthe Troly-Curtin

Fear Of Missing Out vs. Joy Of Missing Out

rest day off

Oh, how we like to be busy all the time nowadays. We want to accomplish so much before a certain age, build the life of our dreams, there is so much going on around us, too, and so much to learn. Social media keep us occupied, connected to the entire world to compare our lives to millions of other lives. As a result, we tend to be distracted, living in online realms, unappreciative of what we have and where we are in life.

Can we take a moment to assess how ridiculous the fear of missing out (FOMO) is? What are we really missing out on if not our own happiness? FOMO leads to stress, fatigue, and frustration. A day off should be a day OFF. Which creates a perfect opportunity to embrace JOMO, the joy of missing out. Reconnect to everything that’s real in your life, your relationships, emotional wellbeing, and your inner world. Ditch the social media theatre for a day, you’ll feel a difference, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable at the beginning.

Remember how Ed Sheeran quit social media for an entire year only to come back with a whole new album? Think what insights and ideas you might gain if you disconnect for an entire day.

Activity Time: Mindfulness Prompt

What do you do once you put your phone away? First of all, breathe, calm down – JOMO, remember? It’s all about your happiness, we have your best interest in mind. Now, start simple. Look out the window, what is the sky like today? What kind of a never-ending movie is it playing at this time? How many shapes can you spot in the clouds? Let your mind enjoy the view for a while. Have you missed the exact moment your thoughts entered the free-flow state, your attention sharpened? All of a sudden you’re anchored in the moment, mindful and connected. You’re welcome.

Everyday De-stressing Activities

There are simple stress-reducing techniques, the magic of which sometimes gets overlooked due to the simplicity of their nature. For example, tidying and decluttering your house can bring you a sense of calmness like you never knew before and help you create an atmosphere of gratitude in your home. Done that? Ok then, here are other easy de-stressing activities for you to try out:

1. Reading – the perfect grounding practice. Fiction, non-fiction, whatever floats your boat on your day off. Immerse yourself in stories or education, and in a matter of a few pages you’ll feel deeply relaxed.

2. Exercising in nature – even a short walk in the park can significantly improve your mental health. Both movement and nature have healing powers.

3. Meeting up with friends and family – invite your best bud over for a drink, schedule a coffee date with a friend, call your parentsmom, or spend some quality time with your brother. And please be aware that it matters who you surround yourself with, especially if you want to relax in their company.

4. Cooking – trying out new recipes can be a mindfulness exercise. Savoring tastes from remote corners of the world in the comfort of your kitchen will wake up your senses to keep you in the here and now.

5. Meditation – your day off is the perfect time to give meditation a shot. This wonderful practice can significantly lower your stress levels, help you get in touch with yourself and find more clarity.

6. Creating – arts, crafts, origami, singing, dancing, songwriting, playwriting, book writing, journaling, painting, drawing, designing, sculpting, redecorating, cooking – endless possibilities, all of them grounding, meditative, de-stressing, and highly recommended. Experiment ― that’s also a creative act.


It’s Your Day

How to spend your day off

On a day off make sure to take care of your relationship with yourself, it’s the most important one you’ll ever have. Devote this free time to self-love practices and self-compassion. Look inward, listen to your heart carefully, focus on your wellbeing, dive into what you FEEL you want to do, rather than what you think you should do. Pursue hobbies and passions. Make yourself joyful. Test out a new nighttime routine for a good night’s sleep. Relax, rest, unwind. Exercise your freedom to do whatever and be whoever you want. Only then will you feel deep gratitude for this gift of time that belongs entirely to you.

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