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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work-Life Balance

Take a Spring Break! (Even if You Don't Get One)

If you’re a recent grad in your first full-time job (or just working in an office with a lot of college interns), the start of spring can be a harsh reminder of the time off you’re no longer getting: Spring Break. There’s not much that’s worse than being stuck in your office while your Facebook feed fills up with photos of far-off lands and sunny beaches, and your younger, hourly co-workers skip out of the office, singing, “see you in a week!” Seriously? They might as well be wearing their bathing suits already.

But luckily, the best things about Spring Break don’t take a week of vacation time to enjoy. Even if you don’t have the week off, treat yourself to a mini-break with these five great ideas you can try in your hours off.


1. Relax

The best thing about Spring Break, hands down, was just getting a chance to chill out. For me, that always meant reading to my heart’s content. If that sounds like you, too, carve out some extra time this week to curl up with a good book. If you were more of the veg-out-in-front-of-the-TV type, then let yourself watch those extra hours on Hulu, guilt-free (you are on Spring Break, after all!).

And if you were the sleep-til-noon-and-never-change-out-of-your-pajamas type? Unless you have an extremely flexible work schedule, this one can be a little trickier. Try changing back into your PJs as soon as you get home from work and making yourself a big breakfast for dinner. It will (almost) be like you never left the house.

2. Catch Some Rays

It always seemed like some kind of competition: Who could return from their break with the darkest tan? While you may not be able to get to the beach, you can still get your fair share of vitamin D this week. Bring a blanket to work and take your lunch to a nearby park for a sunny picnic (bikini not recommended). Or, take advantage of the longer days and spend some time outside after work. Go for a walk or sit on your back porch sipping on some sweet tea (why yes, I am from the South).

3. See Long-Lost Loved Ones

While about half the people would go to the beach during break, the other half would go home to see their families. While admittedly the best part of that was getting home-cooked dinners and having your laundry done for you, it was also nice to catch up with family members and old friends. This week, try and set up a Skype call with your parents, have a Google hangout with your high-school girlfriends, or just catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a while.

4. Visit Faraway Lands

When I had the funds, traveling during Spring Break was always my favorite. If you’re really craving a getaway, why not try to plan a quick weekend trip? Find a nearby city you’ve never been to, grab a friend and an overnight bag, and don’t look back. Bonus points if you don’t make plans and just figure it out on the fly.

If you absolutely can’t get out of town, find some adventure in your own backyard. Go to a museum you’ve always wanted to visit, treat yourself to dinner out at a new restaurant, go see a show, or try out a dance or art class. There has to be something in your city you haven’t done yet. Now is your chance to give it a try!

5. Par-tay

Yes, Spring Break did always have the reputation of being a party week. Now while I’m not suggesting you be constantly intoxicated (ever), take some time this week to cut loose a little. Break away from your usual happy hour haunt and try out the hot new bar or club on Friday night. Or gather some of your closest friends and throw a fun themed party at your place.

These ideas are just a start—the possibilities for taking it easy (even while working) are endless. But however you choose to recharge, the most important thing you can do for yourself this week is break out of your patterns. By doing things a little differently or adding in a fun activity, your week suddenly won’t feel like just another week. And, spring or not, a break from the norm is the best kind of break of all.

Photo courtesy of Paul Stocker.