So you’ve made the decision to take a break. To call a halt. To kick back. Call it what you will, but you probably should have done it earlier. But let me warn you, dear Divas, you cannot just stop everything and expect your break to be restorative. Oh, no.

All good things in life require planning, and usually a dash of scheming as well. So it is with the 12-hour vacation or stay at home spa day. While I’ve posted about both of these (use those links!), more remains to be said on the topic.

You see, often we wait far too long to take that break and then we take that breather without adequate preparation. With no prior plans having been made, we wind up dissatisfied with the results and are often convinced that it just Goes to Show that you can’t take time off.

Codswallop. It’s all about the planning.

If you don’t set strict, hardline boundaries, your precious day will get nibbled away with “just one” text, email, or software update. The only way to stop that nonsense is to Stop That Nonsense. No errands, no chores, and no shopping. Think of this as the Diva equivalent of the wise carpenter’s adage of “measure twice, cut once.”

The first thing to do is to ask, “What do I want to do on this day off?” You need to be able to answer this question! If you enjoy sleeping in or napping, change your sheets the day before. If soaking in a bubbly tub until your fingertips have gone all raisin-y, scrub the tub the day before. If you want to lounge around reading and eating bonbons, lay in the chocolates and several books ahead of time. The same holds true for any creative activity you want to noodle around with – have your supplies laid in and ready to use. And don’t forget about food! You do not want to have to disturb your personal rest day by either needing to run to the store or worry about having anything delivered to you. Make your list and do your shopping ahead of time. That means deciding what you’ll have on hand to snack on or the necessary ingredients to bake or cook what you desire. (I suggest a sturdy soup – easy to make, a great way to scent the house, delicious to eat, and it’s even better the second day!)

Deciding what you want to do on this rare day off helps you truly enjoy the day by giving you structure – otherwise, you might find yourself trying to do EVERYTHING and just working yourself into a tizzy, which is the polar opposite of what you want to do.

As an example, my Beloved left on Sunday for a short work trip just as my spring break was scheduled to begin. First off, “spring break” isn’t the same for faculty as it is for students – I was determined to take Sunday and Monday truly off, knowing that I’d need to dive back in to some work-related tasks (a work text thread is blowing up even now!) for large chunks of the rest of the week (although I have some fun things scattered throughout the rest of the week as well). That meant doing laundry and chores Friday and Saturday so that after he left Sunday morning, things were — quiet.

After an extra cup of coffee, I made a batch of soup so it had plenty of time to simmer and then spent most of the day reading. I had several books and magazines picked out, in case I started one and it didn’t suit my mood. I love reading but have had a hard time settling down to a title lately. So much going on . . . Anyway, I made sure to set the table with the “good stuff” (and wrestle bacon away from a stealthy kitten! Well, kittens will be kittens and there was more bacon) for my coffee-cake-from-a-box indulgent breakfast. Since Sunday, I made time to paint, and read, and nap. I meditated and walked outside in the sunshine. I re-filled my bird feeders and marveled at the daffodils. (I may have picked a bouquet in a vacant lot, but I’m not saying anything more about that.) I noticed that my tulip tree is about to burst into gorgeous pink blooms and that my forsythia plants survived my slipshod winter care. Oh – AND I have a few camellias in bloom! I indulged in something new – a cryo facial – and watched much of the second season of Feud detailing the horribleness of Truman Capote and the upper-crust in New York society. (Make no mistake – both sides are awful there. Yet you feel sorry for them, too.) I made a batch of the Sweet Potato Queens’s “Chocolate Stuff” and took some to my new neighbor and gleefully ate the other half while watching the aforementioned Feud.

But I didn’t insist on doing it all in one single day. And I certainly didn’t insist on doing this without planning for it ahead of time.

Plan, Divas. Then go live with gusto and savoir faire!





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