The Essentials – Pajama Day!

Please note that this Essential is not referencing a day spent in your pajamas because you’ve pushed yourself too far for too long and wound up suffering from one of those “opportunistic bugs” that tends to go around at this time of year. We’re not talking about a day spent on the couch surrounded by half the “cough & cold” aisle of the drugstore. No, days spent dealing with the fallout of Creeping Crud or Gallaumphing Consumption are most definitely outside the boundaries of the kind of Pajama Day under discussion here.

So now that we know what a “pajama day” isn’t, let’s talk about what a “pajama day” is.

See, I firmly believe that everyone benefits from having a few days a year during which said person never gets out of their super-cute jammies. Done properly, this can be amazingly restorative. I could feel Calvinist guilt starting to nibble around the edges of my psyche so I examined the calendar and decided to aggressively counter that sort of nonsense before it got out of hand. Yes, constructive work for the spring semester begins on Monday, but I took one of my pajama days yesterday – let me tell you how it went, understanding that your pajama day may well look very different from mine, and I believe you’ll agree with me that this is an Essential for any self-respecting Diva-in-training.

For me, the goal was to spend the day puttering while feeling luxurious. (“Luxurious puttering” needs to be a thing in the new year!) This isn’t as contrary as it may sound. Too often, we forget to take a few minutes to observe little everyday rituals. So instead of really tasting our coffee, we gulp it down at the sink. Instead of cleansing our skin tenderly and taking a few seconds to marvel at how wonderful our bodies actually are, we harshly scrub our face. So my very first step was to gently, thoroughly wash my face and brush my hair. I know it sounds too easy, but even something as simple as this can set the tone for your entire day. As you know from my “Advent Adventure” posts (you can search for those, if you’d like), I’ve been using the Shine app to start my morning with some kind self-care, so I poured a cup of coffee into one of my favorite mugs (instead of just grabbing whatever was close at hand) and listened thoughtfully. That made me feel up to trying my next lesson in my Rosetta Stone course – the French sentences are getting longer and it takes me a while to grasp the concepts instead of just being an American parrot.

I received some truly lovely Christmas gifts (including Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat in French!), and I wanted to take some leisure time to explore them at length, so I turned on some jazzy background music and worked with watercolors (I’m intrigued by a very particular loose sort of fashion illustration right now) for a while. While one layer dried, I tried out my new cherry-red stand mixer with a batch of soft sugar cookies. (Side note – that mixer is going to be SUCH a helpful tool!) I took a half hour and put together a stock pot-sized batch of vegetable-beef soup using my parents’ time-tested recipe and let it simmer all day. Mid-afternoon, I brought out the bread maker and made a loaf of egg bread. (It’s incredible how modern kitchen appliances can make me feel like quite the cook! Honestly, it’s not hard; it’s that I usually don’t insist on finding the time.) Later in the evening, I took a hot bath, complete with book and chocolate. Dinner was a simple affair of soup and homemade bread spread with butter. Yes, butter.

As you can see, a good pajama day takes planning beforehand. A large chunk of your goal for a pajama day is to not need to go out to get anything, so make sure you have whatever you need already on hand, whether that means sugar for your coffee, supplies for an at-home spa day (I’ve written about those before), or ingredients for that recipe you want to try. Maybe you want to spend a few hours watching a movie or TV series you’ve been meaning to see – check ahead of time and make sure you have it on hand – streaming services are notorious for switching up their online offerings!  Maybe you want to try an online yoga class – go ahead and find what you want, then bookmark it so you can start it at your convenience.

I don’t think I can over-emphasize the mental health benefits of an occasional “pajama day.” It really is an Essential.

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