What do you absolutely have to do today? Uh, huh. That’s nice. Here’s your self-care tip for today: don’t do it. I’m not saying to say no gracefully, I’m saying don’t show up or, if you must, beg off with a flimsy excuse.
And then run like the wind. Take a day trip. Drive to your city’s major shopping area and walk around looking at the holiday windows. Go ice skating and then end the day with hot chocolate and whipped cream. Spend the day at the movies.
Are you going to do it? Are you sitting up in bed reading this on your phone planning out your “I’m really sorry, but I think I have the flu” e-mail that you’re about to send? No, you’re not, are you?
But did you think about it? Did you imagine how it would feel to have a wicked day all to yourself? If you didn’t before, then do it now. What would you do? Where would you go? How do you feel now? Do you feel a bit more excited, more alive, more attuned to the possibilities of wonder that you could have in your life?
I’ll tell you a secret. I’ve done this exactly once in my life. And it was wonderful.
It was a few years ago. I had been working 60-hour weeks for many weeks in a row to meet a deadline. It had become obvious during the last few weeks of this project that it was an artificial deadline; the entire project was about to be canceled and the only benefit of meeting my deadline was a check on my record: I had a deadline and I met it. There was no other benefit.
I met that deadline. And the next day I didn’t set the alarm. When I finally woke up, I sent an email with a flimsy excuse to my wonderful manager (still a good friend), who I’m sure was on to me, and I woke up my confused daughter who didn’t understand why she hadn’t been woken up in time for school as usual.
We hit the road and drove up to the Georgia mountains and spent the day hiking, going through a corn maze, taking a hayride, and going to a petting zoo, among other things. I actually don’t remember when we got back, but it must have been late. But I do remember how I felt: happy, satisfied, and ready to go back to the real world.
I still think of that day and someday I’m going to do it again. What about today? Could today be that day for you? As for me, today I need to do some holiday baking. Or maybe I’ll skip it.
This is part of my 31 Days of Holiday Self-Care Challenge. To see all the posts in this series, visit here.