Today I'm upping the ante with ideas for an entire, glorious afternoon to yourself. It may not happen often, so let's make the most of it, shall we? These ideas actually mix and match nicely both with each other, and with the half-hour ideas. And lots of them have a pseudo-productive vibe, so you can feel all proud of yourself for accomplishing something. If that's your thang, and all.
- I'm assuming you've thought of spa time, but I'll throw it out there in case you want some validation that this is a fantastic idea
- Of course, if you can steal time at home alone, a home spa is perfectly legitimate, and perfectly lovely. Glamour and Whole Living each have some tips for you, too
- Or getting out of the house... Wander around a used book store, spending extra time in sections you don't normally visit. Maybe you'll discover a new reading passion
- If you can remember to return your library books on time (I can't), try spending an hour or two discovering new books at the library. (Most have great book sale sections, too.) If the main branch is close enough, go there instead of the small, local branch to give yourself more scope for your wandering
- If your "afternoon off" has to involve errands, try running them in a part of town you don't usually go to. Park a block or two away and walk around, and let yourself explore any interesting stores or coffee shops along the way. I've found some pretty great little shops and cafes this way, and it makes chores feel more like a mini-adventure
- Have tea at a nice hotel, alone with that book you picked up at the used bookstore
- Take your art journal to a botanical garden and sketch something. Anything.
- Or go to the park or gardens and allow yourself to just sit. No thinking, or to-do lists, or planning, or productivity. Just recharge and soak in the smells, sounds, and colors. I try to do this for an hour once every couple of weeks, and find that I've got a little super-hero cape - creatively speaking - for a couple of days afterwards.
- Speaking of recharging, have you discovered hammock chairs (referral)? An afternoon reading/napping in one of these is like a little slice of swinging heaven
- Uh, shoe shopping. 'Nuff said
- Get dressed to impress and take yourself to lunch somewhere delightful. Order wine or top-notch tea with dessert, take a book or journal, and linger, being fabulous
- Head to the zoo and notice how different the experience is without wee children. See how many of the little informational signs you can read before going into information overload
- Window shop in a section of town you don't normally visit. This is especially fun where the shops are fiscally unreasonable since there's little temptation to actually buy anything, and you can just shop for ideas
- Head to a museum and let yourself soak in the art. Or take your art journal and sketch
- Pack a picnic and head to the park. Again with the journal or book
- Take a cooking class to learn a skill you'd love to have, but may never get to use. You know, for fun.
- Find a local spice store or ethnic grocer and explore the scents. This might inspire some culinary creativity, too
- Pick out three photos you love, and set out on a quest to find frames for them. Keeping the number to three makes this feel a lot more manageable than "I'm going to frame all those photos I love!"
- When did you last take yourself on a leisurely bike ride?
- Clean out your closet, then go immediately to the thrift store or charity drop-off with the things you don't need or wear
- While you're at the thrift store, you might as well wander around and see what catches your eye
- If you're staying home, prepare one amazing meal for yourself, even if it's as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich. Use a cloth napkin, set the table, and savor the food. Judith Jones' Pleasures of Cooking for One is my all-time favorite book for easy, delightful meals to make you feel self-nurtured (referral)
- If you're even faintly crafty or artsy, go soak in the delights of the art supply store. Fantasize about the new craft or art you're going to invest in one day. Consider this research for when you have time to take on a new hobby or passion. Or if that time is now, go crazy.
- Or give yourself a budget to outfit your office with fabulous supplies. That'll be like taking your afternoon off into work with you later
Don't have a whole afternoon for yourself? How about some ideas to enjoy an half-hour instead?
Make sure to bookmark our downtime lists so you have them at your fingertips the next time some time off sneaks up on you. And in the comments, share your favorite way to spend an afternoon off!