Inside: Our weekends are so full that by the end, we need a weekend from our weekend. The solution? Have a Do Nothing Day. Here’s how, plus a big mistake to avoid.
It’s the question you hear every Monday morning: “How was your weekend?”
You rack your brain for something interesting to say, but all you can think of is spending your Friday night paying bills online, a grocery store trip on Saturday afternoon with your hangry kids, and a mountain of laundry you barely made a dent in.
Or maybe your weekend was a blur of softball games, swim meets, and birthday parties, leaving the dirty laundry to multiply like Gremlins who got popcorn after midnight.
Here’s the Problem With Your Weekend
Our weekends are full. Too full.
We fill our weekends with everything that was impossible to get to during the week – in between getting the kids to school early every day, nightly homework battles, making dinner, and executing a convoluted bedtime routine that leaves you feeling ready to collapse into bed at 8:30 pm. And so we leave the errands, the chores, the bill-paying for the weekend.
But by Monday morning, we feel like we need a weekend from our weekend.
We’ve forgotten what weekends should be. Because the truth is that:
- Your brain is not designed to run at high speeds being super productive for long stretches of time.
- All the tasks and decisions you make throughout the day wear on your brain.
- You must give your brain a chance to recuperate so you don’t get burned out.
Parents need recess, too.
I’ve Got a Solution for You
Try this next weekend. Have a Do Nothing Day.
Take your to-do list, take all the errands you need to run, take the chores, all the things you “should” do…and forget them.
Just throw the whole list away for one day. The laundry will wait, I promise.
Instead, you could sit on the floor and play LEGOs with your kids. Or take a long, hot bath. Read a trashy magazine about how much George Clooney’s fictional divorce is costing. Do whatever sounds fun, in that moment.
And if you end up in your pajamas all day, going all KonMari on your closets? That’s totally fine.
But Here’s the Mistake You Need to Avoid
Which is a beautiful thing because “busy” has become a sickness these days.
But here’s the problem with most articles you’ll find about how to have a Do Nothing Day: Literally doing nothing on your Do Nothing Day is not the goal.
3 Surprising Steps for a Successful Do Nothing Day
Humans are happiest when we’re doing something. This means that sitting on the couch all day binge-watching New Girl won’t add to your happiness. The research shows that watching TV, playing video games, or browsing the Internet don’t help your brain recuperate from the stresses of your daily life.
Follow these steps for a successful Do Nothing Day that actually will give your brain the break it needs:
- Think of one or two fun things you might do on your Do Nothing Day. Warning: Don’t make a to-do list! Just brainstorm a handful of things that sound fun to you – ask your partner and/or your kids, too, if they’ll be joining you. But no TV, video games, or mindless surfing allowed. A few ideas for you:
- Play a board game with your family – here’s our epic list of the best family board games for all ages
- Get outside and do something physical – a walk, a bike ride, or a quick game of basketball
- Read a book or a magazine you’ve been meaning to get to
- Do a crossword puzzle
- Grab a stack of awesome picture books or a fantastic chapter book, and have a mini read-aloud marathon with your kids
- Bake something yummy
- Bust out a jigsaw puzzle for the whole family to solve together
- Listen to a new album from an artist you love
- Try out a new recipe that’s too complicated for a weeknight
- Build an epic fort with your kids using cardboard boxes, sheets, and Christmas lights
- When you wake up on your Do Nothing Day, pick one of those things you brainstormed. If none of them sound good now that the Day has arrived, no worries. Brainstorm something else.
- Do that one thing and only that one thing. No multitasking. Just take your time and enjoy it because there’s no rush to mark something off your to-do list.
How You’ll Know If It Worked
On Monday morning, you’ll hear it, just like always:
“How was your weekend?”
If you think back to your Do Nothing Day and find yourself smiling as you answer, that’s how you’ll know. You gave yourself the break you so desperately needed. Plus, what better way to KonMari your closet than to skip doing laundry for a weekend?
What You Need to Know About “Me Time”
After my family welcomed our third little one into the mix, we became a family of five with a second-grader, a toddler, and a newborn. Even though I could have used more sleep and way more coffee, we were happy. Then my husband’s paternity leave ended, and I was at home with the kids all day. As time wore on, my patience became razor thin. And one day, I just broke.
The shame burns my cheeks just thinking of that day, even now. But thanks to that experience, I realized I had to make a change. I threw myself into researching how to find happiness in the chaos of parenting. Something beyond “make time for you” and “exercise more.” Because when you’re overwhelmed and at your breaking point, you don’t need the “experts” telling you more stuff to do on top of everything else.
That’s how I discovered the secrets: 10 secrets every parent should know about being happy. After hearing from hundreds of parents in the same boat as me, I knew I needed to share what I discovered. And so I wrote a book: Happy You, Happy Family. In the book, you get a Temper-Taming Toolkit with simple hacks like this to help you keep your cool during those everyday parenting moments that test your patience.
Click here to get your copy plus a bonus workbook and start your journey towards finding more happiness as a parent.
Because the truth is that happiness won’t come from a big promotion at work, or from winning the lottery, or from your kids all learning to put their toys away when they’re done playing. Because eventually, you just get used to all that stuff.
True, lasting happiness comes from a conscious effort by you to put the right habits in place.
Before you go, get my FREE cheat sheet: 75 Positive Phrases Every Child Needs to Hear
What would you do on your “do nothing day”? Share in a comment below!