When life is busy, setting aside time for yourself can seem like a foreign concept.
After all, when we’re constantly go-go-going, it can be difficult to slam on the brakes and dedicate time to yourself. There are varying schedules to coordinate and details to work out in order to take time off—so it’s easy to push it off for another day (or week or month).
But while arranging for time off can be challenging, it’s something that’s extremely important. After all, some 59% of Americans say they don’t have enough time for themselves. It’s hard for us to constantly balance our need to get things done with our equally or even more important need to embrace a life of meaning, joy, and satisfaction.
If you’d like to increase your happiness, lower your stress, and find more satisfaction in life and your work, then disconnecting from your work and to-dos by taking a day (or even part of a day) for yourself every so often is necessary. While there isn’t any specific way you should spend your time, you should make sure it is spent doing things that will encourage and refresh you—and not spent running errands or tackling the items on your to-do list, no matter how tempting that might be!
To make the most of your time off, here are a few key strategies to keep in mind!
Schedule It In
Taking a few minutes to block out time in your week for yourself is important. If it doesn’t get penciled in, then chances are it won’t happen! Jotting it down in your planner and committing to it will help prevent other things from crowding in and taking priority. Whether you’d like to arrange a coffee date with a friend, go for a long walk, or enjoy a massage—put it down as a legitimate appointment, then don’t double book, overbook, or move it aside for something else.
Plan It Out
The first step to having a truly enjoyable day off is planning it out. Planning allows you to schedule some time off and gives you time to make arrangements—scheduling a sitter, getting tickets for the theater, booking a pampering appointment, or setting up a lunch date with a friend. Planning simply ensures that everything you need to prep for your time off is lined up!
Do Something New
Speaking of plans, why not consider doing something new and exciting on your day off?
The most memorable experiences are marked by their novelty, says psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. “After a while, the activities you once enjoyed no longer deliver the same boost. It’s called ‘hedonic adaptation,’ and you can avoid it by breaking routine.”
By breaking routine, such as visiting a place that’s outside of your usual loop, or meeting friends in a new restaurant, you’ll be able to create a more memorable experience—and who knows? You just might find a new favorite!
Take Time to Reflect
We appreciate things more when we have time to reflect on them. “Savoring and reminiscing, what researchers refer to as ‘the rosy glow of recollection,’ can be happiness inducing,” explains Lyubomirsky. “So anything you can do to create lasting memories on your ultimate day off — whether it’s taking photos, or mementos, journaling or just making a point to recount the day with others — will enhance your experience.”
Finally, if you’d like to fully recharge, then it’s absolutely necessary to unplug! While it’s so easy to bring work home with us, and these days, it seems we’re never really disconnected, it’s necessary to unplug sometimes and be fully present. When enjoying a fun day off, take time to power down and disconnect. Don’t check your schedule, email, or lists!
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While carving out time to unwind and fully enjoy yourself can be tempting to push off for a later date, don’t give in! Taking time for yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself—and those around you. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or super time-consuming—even just a couple hours to refresh and recharge your batteries is all it takes! You’ll feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to go once again.
P.S. The Flagship Daily Planner by Day Designer is designed for this very purpose. Map out your days and create time for what matters most!