When was the last time you used your day off to simply relax and have some fun rather than catch up on laundry or other household chores? If it’s been a while (or even if it hasn’t!), try to carve out some time to make fun a priority.
It’s essential for your mental health to take a break. It’ll help you feel refreshed and recharged, and studies show that laughter can reduce anxiety, stress and even boost the immune system.
Also, as the economy recovers, local, small businesses who suffered the most are counting on you to bring them back to life. So when deciding on a destination for your day-off adventure, think local. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our towns and it’s more important than ever to support them. Here are a few ideas for a fun day off:
Meet Up with a friend for lunch or coffee at a local shop
Connecting with a close friend is priceless. When you share a good conversation, it releases the “feel good” chemical oxytocin in your brain. As you know, this chemical helps you feel calm and cozy.
Try goat yoga
At last winter’s NVAC Conference, goat yoga had everyone in stitches. Is there a goat yoga class near you? If so, that’s a good way to get a stretch and a laugh. Otherwise, a gentle flow yoga class (sans goat) can help you feel calm and relaxed.
Go to Nearby Park or Botanical Garden
Whether you go for a hike, bike ride or simply stroll along flowered paths, being in nature helps your brain slow down so you can appreciate the present. For example, the Philadelphia area offers 30 historic gardens to explore at leisure1. All around the country are hidden gems like these that offer a temporary escape from the daily routine.
Pick Your Own Apples
If you’re in the North East or Mid-Atlantic, there are lots of apple orchards where you can pick your own. In other parts of the country, you may be able to pick berries or other goodies. A quick online search can point you in the right direction to what’s available in your area2. A couple of hours spent picking your own produce will connect you to the food supply chain in a positive way—and help to support local farmers.
Eat a delicious & healthy meal
Whether you opt to cook it yourself or order from a local restaurant, choose a veggie-rich, flavorful meal to help you feel good inside and out. For maximum enjoyment, eat it slowly and savor the flavors.
Explore sound healing
This meditation practice uses small singing bowls and often gongs to create sounds that send relaxing vibrations through the room. Even if you’re not the meditative type, it’s still relaxing to lie on a yoga mat and let the sounds wash over you. Confession: If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself falling into a deep and refreshing sleep. And who wouldn’t benefit from a refreshing nap on a day off?
Get a jump on holiday shopping (and shop small)
Why not take a couple of hours and browse in local boutiques for holiday gifts and gift cards? That way, when the holidays roll around, you’ll already have some of your shopping completed.
Go to a music event (or listen online)
At the time of writing this, there’s no way to know if live events are happening, but one thing is for sure, people are finding creative ways to share their music online. From front porch concerts in New Orleans to living room sessions around the country, it’s never been easier to hear live musicians from the comfort of your home.3 If you are able to get out and see some live music, consider checking out local artists in smaller venues to avoid the stress of large crowds and traffic.
Visit a museum
From quirky mosaic-filled grottos to the traditional art museum, there’s a museum for every interest. There may be some hidden gems near you!4
Check out airbnb experiences
Did you know AirBnB hosts also offer interesting things to do?5 From eating tours to being a mermaid for a day, some hosts have created fun experiences and you don’t have to book a stay to participate.
Perhaps more than ever, it’s essential to prioritize our mental health—and also support small businesses. Hopefully these ideas will inspire you to take a break. Even a couple of hours can help you feel refreshed. +
- Philadelphia America’s Garden Capitol, https://americasgardencapital.org/
- Pick Your Own Produce, https://www.pickyourown.org/
- For music suggestions, visit www.iheart.com or New Orleans’ www.WWOZ.org
- Museum Locator, www.findmuseums.org
- AirBnB Experiences, www.airbnb.com/s/experiences