All your planning and hard work paid off and you've finally scooped up some downtime.
Now what do you do?
Escape the pitfalls of boredom and make the most out of this precious time.
Categorized according to mind, body, spirit, surroundings, and relationships, these 25 activities will help keep you productive and stay away from endless social media scrolling.
1. Read a book
Whether fiction or non-fiction, you're sure to gather new insights or gain a new perspective — both helpful in rejuvenating your mind.
2. Learn a new language
Learning a new language can help you understand another culture in a much deeper way. Try the language of a country you wish to visit one day.
3. Watch a Ted Talk or documentary
If reading really isn't your thing, don't let that deter you from enriching your mind. You can opt for thought-provoking videos instead.
4. Play chess
Whether you're going up against a friend or a computer, playing chess helps improve memory and concentration and it forces you to exercise both sides of your brain.
5. Plan a future trip
Oftentimes, the anticipation of an upcoming adventure is just as exciting and motivating as the trip itself. You may even snag some discounts for scheduling your flight/accommodations in advance!
If this is something you don't do regularly, now's the perfect time to start developing this keystone habit. If it is, mix things up and come up with a new exercise routine.
Even if you're not used to naps in the afternoon, try it a few times to really maximize your "down" time.
8. Learn to cook or prepare meals in advance
Getting sick of take-out and fast food? Try learning how to cook or at least prepare some healthy snacks in advance.
9. Learn a new sport
Any activity that combines learning and physical movement is a good way to spend your downtime. Why not go for something you've always wanted to try out as a kid?
10. Visit the dentist
This one's often overlooked by most adults. Don't procrastinate and make sure your pearly whites stay strong and healthy.
Want to follow along with a free checklist?
There are only a few things that feel better than genuinely making a contribution and helping other people. Try teaching a class for children or participating at a local charity event.
12. Write down everything you’re grateful for
This one needs no explanation although you can certainly do this more regularly and not just during your free time. Bonus points if you pick up journaling as a habit too!
Mindfulness and practicing the art of non-doing is necessary but somehow often neglected by people. Try apps such as Headspace or Calm for some guided sessions.
14. Do something creative
Fire up that right part of your brain by trying painting, pottery, lettering, doodling, or playing an instrument.
15. Spend time in nature
Relieve some pent up stress, appreciate your environment, and improve your mental health by walking in nature, hiking, or camping.
16. Organize your space
Hit three birds with one stone — tasks like this will keep you busy, help you clean up a cluttered environment, and make you feel accomplished all at the same time.
17. Go over and personalize your devices’ settings
When was the last time you actually took the time to know the backend of your computer/laptop/cellphone? Check for updates (if it's not automatic) and set privacy, location, and security settings.
18. Go for Inbox Zero
Since you finally have some downtime, why not attempt that elusive Inbox Zero everyone's been talking about? Start by unsubscribing from unimportant newsletters.
19. Backup your computer files
If you don't do this one regularly, now's the perfect time to make sure you have all your updated important files, templates, and documents in case of an emergency.
20. Grow and care for a new plant
Plants help purify the air and are also natural humidifiers. Keep one or more around your home or office to enjoy these and more benefits from relieving stress to improving mental health.
21. Evaluate your relationships
Do you surround yourself with people who support and inspire you? If you happen to have a negative (maybe jealous) friend or relative, they may be holding you back more than you care to admit.
22. Spend time with loved ones
This one also goes without saying. Aren't they one of the reasons why you're working so hard for anyway?
23. Call an old friend
Lost touch? It's never too late to reconnect with an old friend. Maybe next time, your "downtime" will be spent doing an interesting activity with this person.
Chat up some stranger or contact someone you've been meaning to connect with. You never know where new relationships will lead.
25. Send thank you notes
Remember how it felt to receive a sincere gesture of gratitude? Surprise someone by paying it back to whoever helped you at some point and brightened up your day.
Got any suggestions not mentioned in this list? Share them in the comments below!