You are probably thinking, Spa day! You know, I thought about that too, until I thought about the time and financial commitment I needed to allocate for such luxury and how much unhappier I’d become after such allocation. So scratch that! Oh yes, and if I were the director of goop, I might as well throw in a day trip to say, Italy! It will be a smooth transatlantic flight on a personal jet, with a cool off at the stunning Lake Garda, and a fantastic locally-sourced meal at the hotel restaurant in Locanda San Vigilio. Alas, I am but a common woman; I don’t have a team of personal assistants and unlimited budget, so let’s be more realistic, shall we?
I haven’t had a day off for as long as I can remember. Week days, well, yours and mine are surely hectic and weeknights even worse. Weekends are usually filled to the brim with activities on the home front, or business meetings on the career front. Lately I’ve been feeling like I needed a day to regroup, to find my center of balance. Today I finally took the plunge and did just that: took a day off to recenter myself. I decided not to structure it at all. After dropping Plumster off at school, I decided to let it free flow and see what the day took me. In the process, I found five of my favorite activities to do on a day off:
1. Exericse: nothing gets your feel-good hormone going like a good exercise. Alright, alright, I suppose there are other ways, but I digress. Like I say, this is a solo kind of day. I’ve been using Jillian Michael’s DVD in our living room. Phase 1 might seem easy, but she gradually increases the intensity, and boy, 30 minutes of workout really does crank up your endorphins and you are left with nothing but happiness, sweaty workout clothes, and a sense of accomplishment. Walking is another great form of exercise. A walk along the beach, in the park, or in the neighborhood is always a great option! I ended up doing 30 minutes of Jillian Michael’s, followed by my good intention to walk the puppy around the neighborhood which turned into a full-on run around a nearby park. Endorphins, oh yeah!
2. Laundry and house chores. I know, I know, from my post on ironing, you might get the misconception that I hate anything house-chore related. Quite the contrary! Nothing calms me down like a sparkly clean house. I’ve been doing my own laundry since high school. Sorting, folding and putting away laundry, as well as hand-washing dishes have a therapeutic, soothing effect on me. Especially hand-washing dishes: it brings a closure to a well executed meal. I decide to start my day off with a clean kitchen and empty laundry baskets. I start the first load in the washer. While the laundry is going, I clear the cleaned dishes away; hand wash the breakfast plates and cups; sweep the kitchen floor, which inevitably extend to the dining room, the hallway, the bathroom. Then I swiffer the entire floor space; sort of like the “if you give a mouse a cookie” story: if you give Monki a broom, she’d want to sweep the entire house. After she sweeps the entire house, she’d want to swiffer the entire floor. When she’s done with the floor, she’d want to rearrange the furniture. When she’s done rearranging the furniture…. You get the point.
3. House Finance. These days with the Dow Jones Industridal Average dancing all over the graph, up-and-down oil prices, prime rates, 401k, S&P500, Janet Yellen’s inclusion of exclusion of the word “patience”, etc etc, it’s hard to get a grip on retirement plans. I am still trying to figure this one out. I have friends who use a financial advisor and swear by them; I have friends who don’t. We are on the fence. But on this day off, it’s time to start thinking about such mature and responsible matter.
4. Catch up on readings. My go-to guilty pleasures are Architectural Digest and Real Simple magazines. Since I haven’t had a day off in years, my stack goes way back… to 2013! Now that’s a big stack to catch up!
5. Tea time! Well, some people might prefer TEE time I suppose: the smell of fresh cut grass and fresh air does hold the promise of a good time. And if we are not in the middle of a drought, I might even be encouraged to give it a swing. But while Southern California is in one of the worst drought ever, where restaurants might not even be able to serve you water without you begging for it, I don’t suppose maintaining those Bermuda greens is ecologically sound. Further more, I will probably feel a slight tinge of guilt being surrounded by the water thirsty, carefully manucured link. But I digress. TEA time! I grew up in Taiwan with a healthy sense of pride in our Formosa high mountain tea. Tea leaves harvested in spring, hand-picked and hand-rolled in Alishan is prized among tea enthusiasts. Mom gifted me with this travel tea pot/cup set because we enjoy drinking tea that much. After a day of exercise, house chores, financial balancing and magazine binging, it’s time to sit down and brew myself an aromatic pot of Alishan tea.
Wait a second, you are scracthing your head asking, you have a day off and you spend the day cleaning house, paying bills, exercising and drinking a pot of tea?! I suppose if I have more time and less cleaning to do, I’d enjoy going to the local cafe, shopping for cute spring outfits, getting a pedicure, strollling along the boardwalk, discovering a new favorite restaurant, getting a massage, trying a new recipe, or even meeting up with a friend! But like I say, this is a day to recenter, regroup and recharge. While I normally have to cram all these house chores between the hours of 9pm and midnight, I now have the whole day to leisurely go through my chores. At the end of the day, I look at my clean house and no, I do not regret spending my precious day off cleaning my house. Because you see, in the process of cleaning and decluttering, I was also checking off my to do list. With a bunch of items checked off, my mind finds its center and I get to enjoy a night off later!
What do you like to do on your day off? How do you find your center of balance?