How to vacation when you're not on vacation
The notion that “you’re dead to the world” Monday through Friday is not one I subscribe to. I’m just not cool with being a zombie 5 days a week… roughly 20 days per month, 52 weeks a year. WHOA. While getting out during the week is understandably more difficult, there is still time for tons of micro-adventures and fun plans to be peppered in.
For most of us, a 9-5 is reality, but from experience, this schedule does NOT have to drain you. We need to make a living, but it doesn’t need to take away from having a life. Here are some strategies to keep you energized and invigorated during the workweek!
GO OUT FOR LUNCH
This seems like an obvious one, but recent studies have shown only 1 out of 5 people leave their job for lunch. I understand saving money, trust I hear you on that, but there are ways to get out without breaking the bank. We need sunlight people, some fresh air and vitamin D are good for the soul. Recently, my boyfriend and I have been having lunch together. We pack it into a bag and walk to a nearby bench that happens to be by a bus stop. It’s not very picturesque, but it’s a nice walk and it allows for disconnect. Staying inside with translucent lights or in an office cafeteria is okay once a week, but it should not be your daily lunch routine.
GET OUT AFTER WORK
Before you even go home, go somewhere else. It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of your comfy couch whose calling your name after a long day. Resist the urge. Sometimes, a Netflix night needs to happen… and with a glass of wine. But if coming home, watching TV and going to sleep becomes your regular habit, you will feel debilitated over time and just bored with your life.
It’s hard to get into it, but making it a habit to work out at a nearby park before going home, for example, will leave you feeling like you accomplished something for yourself. Exercise can be that frenemy you don’t always get along with, but when you’re into even a simple routine, you have more energy to get out and more willpower to resist the couch.
MEET WITH FRIENDS… OLD & NEW
I’ve heard too many people say, “Remember when we were in college and saw each other all the time?” or… “Remember when it was so easy to meet new people in college?”.
My friends, college was indeed a lovely experience. We all had time to sit around and entertain worldly philosophies, debate what Chaucer REALLY meant, hell we could go out and meet for beers in between class… but we must let go and embrace post-college life. Yes, you can still meet your friends for lunch, happy hour, even dinner if you’re working late. You’ve just got to make it a point. These meetings revitalize you. I actually go out of my way to plan catch ups during the week for this very reason. Just the other night we planned a happy hour. A few old friends and a new one. MAN was my Monday transformed. I got to work the next day with a stupefied grin, as if I had just gone on a really, really good first date.
And meeting new people? Also not a problem. Be bold and invite! Girls, especially in Miami, can be a bit clicky. But, if you extend the invite as you would have in college, we’re all just dieing to get along. I’ve met some great new gems that way!
Moral of the story? Get out and schedule things. Make it a goal to have at least 2-4 catch ups a month. You will feel so much better.
This may seem like another obvious one, but plan micro-adventures during the workweek and weekend.
What is a micro-adventure, you say? It could be as simple as making it a point to pack a cooler and go to the beach (yes, even after work during the week), or as elaborate as planning a miniature vacation to a city or town nearby. The real point is to plan something interesting and out of your ordinary routine. It really is up to you to ensure “routine” doesn’t also find its way into your two days off, which is upsettingly easy to happen.
I cringe when I see a pattern emerge in my work weeks and weekends… but it’s easy to get into the habit of going to the same places to eat dinner, or just doing the same things in general. If you’ve been in a pattern of grabbing dinner and then doing a movie, change it up. Your weekends are opportunities to have two full days to yourself. This precious time should not be wasted in another routine. Google some shit and explore.
PLAN A VACATION
Looking forward to getting away makes me giddy. As I’ve said before, sometimes planning a vacation is just as exciting as leaving. I promise once I have something to look forward to, like a vacation, I actually see light where there was once darkness. I kid you not. That morning commute suddenly becomes sunnier, I jam to island music (if I happen to be going on a tropical vacation)... even work becomes something I’m more enthusiastic about. That meeting at the end of the day is all gravy because in just xyz number of days, I will be sippin’ an umbrella drink.
To be clear, I’m not advocating living outside of the moment. But, working in a routine can drain you and the only way to continue to feel vitalized is to invest in your life outside of work. Even the job you love and fulfills you can become just a job over time. To truly appreciate your work life, you must enrich your real life.
Do you have strategies to sass up your workweek? Did these tips help you? Drop some knowledge below!