Sometimes you just need a break. If you’ve ever been at the breaking point, then you understand that there are weeks where Friday literally cannot come soon enough. It’s Tuesday and you already need to get out. You’ve got some sick days left on the books, but you’re scared to take them in case something serious happens. Do you dip into vacation time?
Stop overthinking it.
Maybe it’s time to play a little hooky.
Now, make no mistake: This is not an endorsement to lie to your boss, or find creative ways to convince your significant other that you have a cold and can’t go in today. If you need help on that, your best bet is to re-watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
This advice is really more à la this article providing constructive ways to set aside some personal time during the week in an effort to energize and ultimately boost your productivity.
If you can convince your boss that it’s worth you taking off an extra hour or two during a rough week, try out one of these great, quick escapes that can give you a chance for a little hooky, without all the guilt.
Go On A Nature Walk
They say nature is all around us—but sometimes the office park, neighborhood coffee shop or midtown bar locale can seem pretty preventative. But the truth is, nature isn’t hard to find, even in the middle of a concrete jungle. Find a local arboretum, butterfly pavilion, garden or park that you can get to—even if it’s just a block wide—and sit amongst something green for a couple hours.
It’s a great chance to be by yourself, get outside of your normal neighborhood, and have space to think in the distraction-less quiet. Sometimes we over-complicate the madness of our work week because there’s just so much commotion. If you can quiet that commotion for a few brief moments, you can begin to clear some of the knots in your brain.
As a bonus, consider throwing on some classical music to accompany you on your walk.
Go Play Laser Tag
If you and couple of your work friends need to blow off some steam, this might be the best way to do it: war it out with lasers.
While it might be tempting to do something even more physically involved like paintball or boxing, this is a more corporate-friendly solution.
Don’t worry about breaking a sweat, ruining your clothes or even having to bring something more athletic to change into. How fun would it be to show up to laser tag in your best work uniform and run rampant with your coworkers—taking the best of your strategic and critical thinking abilities and putting them to a field test.
It’s something that’s open in the afternoon, and can play to everyone’s schedules, so it’s pretty easy to coordinate, even if your favorite coworkers are on a different shift.
Plan A Spontaneous Picnic/BBQ
Your lunch break might be the biggest downer on a hard day: you’re sitting by yourself, cramming in a poorly homemade sandwich or some grub that you paid more than an hour’s worth of work for. And then you’ve got to eat it so quick that you get indigestion before you go back to the shift you don’t even want to be at.
A picnic redeems that.
Rescue your workday meal from depression. Skip the shift that’s calling you back from your favorite food, cook out with the people you hold dearest, and enjoy a brief respite from the grind of non-stop work-eat-work rhythm.
Escape to a Midday Movie
Wasn’t that what movies were originally created to be anyway: an escape? Sometimes the best thing you can do is find a quiet place to be alone by yourself. But with roommates, cell phones and the constant demand of life, sometimes you need to go incognito.
Get lost in a story, be forced to turn off your phone, and lock yourself away in a dark air-conditioned room where you can relax, recharge and binge on some extra-buttery popcorn. And matinees are cheaper anyway!
It’s a great way to distract yourself from the craziness of your week, and you’ll come away feeling like a new person.
Spend The Day In Bed, Completely Off The Grid
Finally, there’s some merit to simply shutting off altogether. Why get up?
Spend a day for yourself.
Lounge, grab some coffee or a bagel, lounge some more, watch Netflix, lounge some more, and shut out the rest of the world.
It’s hard these days to really unplug. And even going on Netflix can’t count as quite “going off the grid.” But let’s give it a proper 2015 definition: turn off your email, disable the push notifications from your scheduling app, put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode, and lay back.
If you play it right, you can have even a couple hours where you don’t need anyone to reach you. Where you can truly unplug, relax, and have some time that’s dedicated to your own recuperation. Ultimately, while it can seem selfish if you’re not used to taking time for yourself, it’s for the good of the whole staff—helping you to be happier, healthier and more productive.
Enjoy your time off!