Instead of the garden variety 365-day year, a leap year gives us the blessing of one extra day. By the time you’re reading this, Leap Day has come and gone. . . technically. Yes, we’re now beyond February 29, 2020. Maybe you lost track of it and got wrapped up in the mundane demands of a busy life. Maybe you worked. Maybe you studied. Maybe you managed to run errands, work, AND study!
If you didn’t seize the day and make it yours, I’ve got good news. No one says your “bonus day” HAS to be logged at the back end of February. You didn’t miss out on 2020’s bonus day, you just didn’t take it yet. There’s plenty of time left to grab hold of your extra 24 hours and make the most of it!
Spread it out
First things first, let’s clear something up before we get too far into your “Any Day is Leap Day” planning. You’re busy. I get that. Even with the blessing of one extra set of 24 hours, it can be hard to grab hold of a day to dedicate to something other than the same old stuff you spread across the other 365 days. Listen, no one said you had to spend your Leap Day all at once. Feel free to divide up your bonus time and use it an hour here and an hour there. (Extra bonus secret: If you want to set-aside a “leap hour” for yourself here and there into 2021, I won’t tell. Actually, the goal is to develop a habit of self-care and it’s not just okay, it’s good to do that even in a plain old 365-day year.)
What to do? What to do?
So now you’re ready to immerse yourself in the bliss of extra time, and you realize that you just don’t know where to start. Been there. Done that! Maybe this list of ideas will help get your creative, Leap Day juices going:
● Binge______: This is your day(s) to devote to something that’s meaningful for you. If that’s curling up on the couch with some Netflix series you’ve been meaning to catch up on, go for it. That’s not the only flavor of binge, though. Been wanting to learn how to knit? Line up a series of YouTube videos and get cracking! Want to try your hand at coding? I hear there’s some good stuff waiting for you on Khan Academy.
● Read: If you’re like a lot of us, there’s a stack of books and/or magazines collecting dust while they wait for your attention. Whether you use an entire day to get lost in those pages, or you divide out that time a little here and there, dedicate your bonus 1,440 minutes to reading.
● Declutter: Okay, so you may have had “fun” on your mind and cleaning is not something you’d normally include on that list. Just hear me out. If you dedicate some of your extra day to tossing what’s no longer useful and get organized, you’re going to appreciate it in the future. You may even find that you pick up extra minutes here and there as a result of this dedicated declutter effort. If you spend less time finding the things that used to be lost in the piles of stuff, you can pick up extra time you didn’t even you were losing before!
● Stretch: Yes, stretch. Maybe that’s literally taking a yoga class or maybe it’s just pushing yourself to try something new. Get out there and hit up the karaoke bar with friends. Try a painting class. Pick up the guitar you’ve ignored for a few years.
● Reconnect: Has it been a while since you caught up with your best friend or your favorite cousin? Use some of your bonus day reconnecting either in person or on the phone. Make this a conversation, not a note on their Facebook wall or a one-off text to say, “thinking of you.”
● Do nothing: Yes. You read that right. In our frenetic-paced world we often feel like we have to fill in every moment with something meaningful or productive. Not on this extra day. This is a day where you can wear your pajamas as late as you want. You can have pancakes for breakfast and omelets for dinner. You can be as lazy as you like and it’s okay. Recharge and enjoy it!
● Explore: Grab your camera, pack the family into the car, and queue up a location in your community (or a neighboring community) that you’ve never been to before. Be a tourist in your own town or county. See your town with new eyes and relish the adventure.
● Serve: There’s something incredibly empowering and energizing about making a difference in the lives of others. Use some of your bonus time to volunteer at a place that moves you.
366 and Beyond
Let’s cover the most important part of this article again: The goal is to develop a habit of self-care and it’s not just okay, it’s good to do that even in a plain old 365-day year. Whether you’re a business owner or an executive, you work hard. You are balancing work and life. Maybe you’re me and you add a dash of school to the mix. It can be overwhelming to try to juggle it all, all the time. Leap Day gives us a reason to hit pause on the busy demands of our every day and focus on reconnecting with ourselves. Don’t wait another four years to make it happen. Carve out time to do it more regularly.