We have a lot of time off - six months last year alone - so I know a thing or two about how to unwind. Surprisingly, the time off I enjoy most is on the road, when we're not actually working. Being home is fine, there's just not a whole lot to do.
I'm home now and all I've done in the past week is watch movies - I finished Season Three of Dowton Abbey and watched at least fifteen rentals. I also did a little shopping and a lot of eating. To my delight, I lost six pounds since we got back from the cruise. I don't know how that happened, but I'm not complaining.
In the high I'm experiencing from being so skinny, I've compiled eight ways to enjoy time off - many of which I personally employ.
Choose Your Partner In Sloth Wisely
If you're going to spend the weekend in your pajamas, lay around all day watching TV, or binge eat at the nearest Buffet du Jour, you have to make sure the person you're going to do it with is on the same wavelength as you. Having someone that says, "OK, sure!" to everything you suggest, makes the day ten times more enjoyable.
This is a good one. And often essential. I usually get enough sleep, but if you're a person who is constantly on the go - kids, work, husband, chores - you have no idea how much sleep you're missing. Whether you catch a few winks in the LazyBoy or take a full-on nap, I suggest you do it. If you're a mom, drop the kids at school, do a few chores or whatever, and then take a good hour (or two) nap. Yes, in the middle of the day. Yes, when other people are at work. Yes, when there are things that "need to be done". Nothing is that important. It can all wait. Trust me. And if you think you can't fall asleep during the day because there's too much light, invest in one of these. I have that exact one and it blocks out light so completely, that a fitful slumber is the only thing you'll get while wearing it.
Go to RedBox, pick up two or three movies you've been dying to see, and go home and watch them. Back-to-back. If you'd rather go out, there is nowhere more serene than a movie theater in the middle of the afternoon during the week. No kids, no crowds, and if you're so inclined, you can also see back-to-back films for one low low price. Yes, I am advocating sneaking from one theater to another. Trust me, no one is looking - I worked at a movie theater for years and they don't ever have enough staff in the afternoon - and if it's like every movie theater in America, they employ teenagers who would rather bullshit with the pretty girl at the concession stand than walk the halls and ask to see your ticket. Besides, you were only going to the bathroom, right?
Do Something Different
Don't get up at five, hit the gym, have coffee at six, get dressed and get ready to face the day. That's what you do all the time, isn't it? How about sleeping till eight? Or going out for breakfast in a restaurant, and not the Starbucks drive-thru. Your day actually has to be different to be different. Eat lunch out, get a milkshake, shop on a different side of town, visit a store you've always wanted to go into but have never been to. What good is a day off if you're going to do the same thing you do every other day of the week?
Surrender The Device
OK, this isn't one that I'd be able to pull off, but some people can. I have a friend who often "unplugs". Don't blog, don't answer emails, don't be tied to your smartphone. Become temporarily unavailable. Unless you're running a country, or in charge of who's turn it is to man the nuclear button, you really don't need to be available 24/7.
Appreciate nature while it still exists. OK, it'll probably be around after you die, but there are so many strip malls, drive-thru food establishments, malls, superstores and more to forget what it's like to walk under a canopy of real trees. Drive, even if it's far, to get to a place where you're surrounded by nature. Watch birds. Listen to the sounds of rustling leaves. Clomp through knee-deep snow. Embrace Mother Nature and tell her how much you've missed her.
See The Sights
Travel is my favorite diversion, and the one thing I encourage everyone to do. When you think about how much money you spend on bullshit, you'll realize you can find money for a weekend away. Look for deals, look for free stuff to do, find inexpensive hotels, take advantage of weekend car rental deals like Enterprise has, and just go do something unfamiliar. Even driving a car other than your own feels fun.
Fill Your Head With Words
There are too many people who say, "I don't have time to read". In fact, I know one guy who's never read a whole book in his entire life. You might not be able to get through a whole book - although, I have read books in one day - but maybe you can flip through your favorite magazines at a local bookstore, or start listening to an audio book, or read a new website that you've been meaning to get to. It's equivalent to learning something new, so absorb as much as you can.
This is the short list. There's so much more one can do with uninterrupted time. Plan it if you have to. Use a sick day. Let the laundry wait one more day. Conspire with a friend. Convince your partner to take the day off with you - make it a date.
"Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure." ~ Oprah
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2012: Dinner With Friends
2011: This Is What Sheer Joy Looks Like
2010: I’ll Have The Tootsie Rolls And The Butterfinger And The Lollipop And The Gummi Bears And The Hershey Kisses And The Snickers Bar And The M&M’s And…
2009: Meals On Wheels
2008: Mercury Dropping
2007: James Cameron For $79.99 A Night
2006: The Town That Big Tobacco Built
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!