As I sit here outside a shopping centre, waiting for my family to finish doing their thing, I find myself questioning how we define "time off" in the first place!
Last weekend I was enjoying the supportive environment of being with my mastermind group in San Francisco and we were discussing just this topic. Jack Canfield, our group leader, suggests that a FREE day is one where you are doing that which gives you energy and enables you to re-create, as in recreation, from midnight to midnight. It means not opening email, taking work related calls, doing your paperwork, accounts or other more "mundane" activities. It means taking care of yourself, nurturing your body and your mind, relaxing, sleeping, perhaps going to your favourite restaurant, beach, walking spot, getting a massage and so on.
For me, it means all these things and more. It doesn't mean shopping though. My daughter chastised me when I said I would wait in the car. For her, shopping is a real time off activity, and she felt I should want to traipse around the shops with her and enjoy it! No, for me I would rather sit in the car, listen to some relaxing music and just chill out for a couple of hours.
So, in fact my family are actually doing me a favour acting as "Dad's taxi" to take them to the shopping centre. I get to spend some time with myself and relax!
On that basis, despite not necessarily doing those nurturing things that I would perhaps prefer to do, I get to help my family enjoy their free day and I can also make the choice to make my day just as relaxing. By having respect for their preference, and having respect for my own choice, we all get to "win".
My tip then is simply this: make the choice that serves you even when it may seem that there is no choice. I could have chosen to be annoyed that I was having to spend my free time driving my family to the shopping centre, and being dragged in and out of shops I didn't want to be in, OR I could make my own choice and spend some time looking after me at the same time....
Enjoy your weekend!