How to Make Sure Your Day Off isn’t Wasted

Days off from work can feel like a time to avoid daylight and eat everything in the house—but that can be avoided. Here are a few ways to stay productive.

We all know the feeling of finally enjoying a day off from work after what seems like forever. Sometimes you just want to stay in bed all day, order a pizza and avoid all human contact for a full 24 hours.

But, oftentimes, that leaves you feeling sluggish, lazy and like you’ve wasted a perfectly good day. Don’t think you can’t enjoy your day and relax while still functioning like a (semi-)productive member of society.

Try a New Recipe


When you get home from a long day at work or school, managing to cook anything at all seems like a daunting task. Most times, I personally tend to gravitate toward a bowl of Easy-Mac or ordering Chinese food before I even think about switching on the stove.

However, when the whole day is ahead of you, you have an opportunity to experiment with some fun new food, and maybe even accumulate some leftovers that will last you through the week.

Scour your Pinterest boards for those recipes that you swore you would try to make but completely forgot about. Here’s your chance to actually do it. Make an outing of it.

Compile your grocery list, head to the nearest supermarket and go on a mission for your ingredients. Enjoy yourself. There’s no rush, you have the whole day. Invite a friend to help, put on your favorite television show or music for some background noise, fire up the burners and cook up a storm.

De-clutter Your Space

In a busy week, your basic apartment upkeep may lack a little. A day off provides you with the time you need to spruce up the place a bit.

That makeup table that’s had a spilled bottle of foundation on it for three days? Wipe it down, organize your brushes, throw away empty containers and make a list of products you need to re-stock.

That pile of laundry that has been blocking the view of your closet floor for two weeks? Throw it in the wash, and hang up some outfits you have planned for the week.

While this might not seem particularly fun, it’s much more relaxing to lounge in a space that is neat and clean.

When I lay around all day in a messy room, it makes me feel like there’s so much I need to do and I should feel guilty for not doing it. Be guilt-free. Care for your space. Do your future self a favor so that your work week is a little more pleasant.

Plan Your Week


Also in the name of doing your future self favors, try and make her week a little less hectic. Break out the planner, set reminders on your phone and make sure you’re not setting yourself up for any surprises.

Remember that 3:00 PM appointment on Tuesday. Don’t forget that your mother needs you to mail those letters. Write down what time your coworkers want to meet for lunch on Thursday.

You’ll be able to relax more easily knowing that you are prepared and what the week ahead has in store for you.

Go for a Jog

I know — who wants to work out on their day off when they could be curled up under the covers? But even a quick workout or a short jog can energize you for the whole day. At the very least, it will make you change into workout clothes and put your hair up, which will immediately make you feel better and more productive.

Get to the gym, hop on the treadmill or try a new running trail. Bring a buddy if you want, and grab some brunch afterward. Working out can be social, believe it or not.

Anything that can get your blood pumping, get you out of bed and get you a bit more motivated to face the day will work. Plus, it’s much more satisfying to collapse on the couch, watch movies and be lazy after you know you’ve already got in a workout for the day.

Pamper Yourself


Grab that new face mask or bubble bath you’ve been wanting to try. Crack open a bottle of wine. Read a few chapters of your favorite book or try something new with your hair. This counts as productive, trust me. Taking a little bit of extra special care of yourself is definitely different to sleeping the day away.

I like to call this ‘regret-free relaxation’. It’s still fun, still somewhat lazy, but won’t make you hate yourself like scarfing down a large pizza and avoiding sunlight all day will.

Paint your nails. Try some new makeup. Make your favorite drink. Watch an old movie you forgot about. You’ll feel rejuvenated and content, not lazy and lackadaisical.

“Me time” is essential. As Parks & Recreation taught us, ‘treat yo’ self’.

A day off from work can be a blessing and a curse. Don’t let it get the best of you. Make the most of your precious spare time; you will thank yourself later when you’re facing your workweek fresh, prepared, happy and productive.

What do you do on your days off to make yourself feel good? What are your tips to balancing productivity and relaxation? Tell us in the comments section!

About the author

Taylor Maple

Taylor is a junior at Ohio University studying journalism & political science. You can almost always find her at a concert, a bookstore, or in bed binge-watching Grey's Anatomy. She is passionate about empowering women and helping them succeed in life, love, & careers.

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