17 Free Things to Do On a Day Off
Studies show that time off can be good for your health and even productivity once you return to work.
Summer is a time of holidays and weekends when people will be grillin’ and chillin’—check out our 4 easy tips for a healthier barbecue here.
If you’re looking for other ways to pass the time without breaking the bank, we have an array of free ideas for what your body, mind, and soul may be craving.
- Take a hike. Not only is nature beautiful but science shows time in the great outdoors improves mental health, relieves stress and can reduce chronic health conditions.
- Go to a playground. Play time is not just for kids but has benefits for adults too! If you want to get in more structured exercise, you can even do a playground workout designed by Do The Good Stuff fitness fiend Dodi Darrow.
- Have a photo scavenger hunt with friends or even yourself for a fun challenge.
- Take a scenic walk or run in your area. This can be stimulating, relaxing or both. Try somewhere you love but don’t get to visit enough or somewhere you’ve been meaning to check out.
- Do yoga or exercise in the park. Bust out of your gym routine and move in a more open space. Bring your yoga mat and practice your favorite poses or one you’ve been working on. For other movement, perhaps use a Frisbee, sports ball or other equipment you have on hand. Or make the park your obstacle course.
- Play in the water. If you don’t have a pool or body of water nearby, go old school and run in the sprinklers like a kid. If you or anyone you know has water guns or water balloons, have a good old fashioned water fight.
- Chill out. Lay out on a blanket or lounge chair in your yard, or at a park, beach or lake.
- Clean up your neighborhood by picking up trash. Just be safe—wear gloves and stay away from anything too icky.
- Write thank you notes to people in your life. Chances are, you can think of people who have done things big and small for you or are a good source of support and positivity. Go further than a text with some emojis and write them a thank you note using whatever stationary or other paper you have on hand.
- Tidy up and give away. Go through your clothes or books and round up things you don’t like or need anymore that you can donate to Salvation Army or a local shelter. Here are some tips from tidying guru Marie Kondo.
- Watch a patriotic movie. For July 4th, Independence Day is a clear choice.
- Put together a playlist. Make a mix of tunes for dancing, working out, chilling, driving, or whatever else you want to set to music. You can check out our workout playlist for inspiration.
- Play games. Most of us have board games or card games that may be collecting dust. Bust ‘em out and have a good old game time with friends or family.
- Read a book. Crack open a book you already have that you haven’t started or finished yet. Or pick up a beloved book you haven’t read in a while and want to revisit.
- Check out a new podcast. May we suggest ours? Shameless plug, I know.
Write it Out
Journal. Our minds can race so much, but when we are still and make time we can finally address those thoughts. Write down things that have been on your mind—just free write as the thoughts flow and get it out of your mind and on paper. Don’t worry about solving any possible problems or questions just yet, unless you feel ready to brainstorm next steps.
Another idea: Write down what you’re thankful for and why. How often do we acknowledge all the gifts we are granted each day? The ability to wake up, move, eat, work, play, and interact with loved ones are all worthy of gratitude.
Sometimes what we need most is to zone out and do nothing. And that’s great too.
Jessica Hamlin is an LA-born and bred journalist and editor who started taking pictures of food back when everyone used film cameras. A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coach training program, she’s passionate about wellness and enjoys making and discovering delicious and healthy food. Her work has appeared in Clean Plates, NPR affiliate KPCC, AOL, and Eater LA.