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How to have a lovely day

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How to have a lovely day

How to Have a Lovely Day

When was the last time you took a real, honest break from your daily commitments for a whole day? If you can't remember, you may have cause for concern, as most health experts agree that occasional days off are vital to staying happy, healthy, and productive. Planning a day for yourself can be a great way to overcome a jaded outlook on life or get yourself out of the "funk" your daily grind has gotten you in. Whether you're on your own for your day off or you're lucky enough to have companions for it, you'll probably find that the simple pleasures of a lovely, low-key day are tough to top.

I. Having a Lovely Day By Yourself

1. Get plenty of sleep the night before. 

Ironically, having a perfect day means starting the night before! It's harder to enjoy yourself if you're drowsy from lack of sleep and, if you have to take a nap in the middle of the day, you'll miss out on time that you could be spending doing something more important. Try to get a full night's rest the night before your big day — though everyone's sleep needs are different, most adults need about seven to nine hours per night.

  • Ideally, getting enough sleep isn't something you should give up on the day after your "lovely day" — insufficient sleep has been linked to a variety of health problems, including obesity and heart disease.

2. Begin your day with a few stretches. 

If you're like most people, when you roll out of bed in the morning, you jump right into the shower or drag yourself off to work without a moment's notice. Today, instead, start slow with a good, thorough stretching session. Stretching loosens up your body, increases the blood flow to the muscles, and helps clear your mind at the start of the day. Plus, it just plain feels good, so, to start your morning right, don't skip this simple treat.

  • If you'd like, you can even start stretching in bed before you open your eyes. Lift-up your palm and stretch out each of the finger. Take up your wrist and then your arm for the stretch. Do the same for the other arm. Progress next to your toes, feet, ankles, and both of your legs.
  • For extra effect, try listening to your some music while you stretch. Tuning in to your favorite Dvorak symphony or grooving into some Bob Marley jams can help you focus on your stretches and get you in a great mood to start your day.

3. Have a satisfying breakfast. 

If you work an average nine-to-five, there's a good chance that the word "breakfast" has come to mean "whatever you can grab on the way out the door" for you. Today, try something different: take the time to make a filling and nutritious breakfast. There's no "right" breakfast to start your day with — whatever you choose to eat is a matter of personal taste — but below we've listed a good all-purpose breakfast that should be satisfying to most:

  • Two pieces whole wheat toast with butter or your preferred spread; Two eggs cooked to your liking; one apple or banana; sausage, bacon, or ham.
  • Resist the urge to have an enormous breakfast — though it can be tempting to load up on pancakes, french toast, bacon, and omelets, huge breakfasts can slow you down later in the day by giving you a "food coma."
  • Consider accompanying your breakfast with a cup of your favorite tea or some fresh-brewed coffee. A small dose of caffeine can help give you the energy you need to get the ball rolling on your day's projects.

4. Wear something that makes you feel good. 

In the words of Robert F. Chew, "Look the part, be the part." Don't wear a dirty T-shirt and sweatpants for your big day — it's tough to feel fresh and energized when you look like you just rolled out of bed. Instead, dress a little "nicer" than normal, as if you were going on a date or seeing someone you really care about. Catching a glimpse of your handsome or beautiful self in the mirror on the way out the door is all you need to get in a positive mindset for your lovely day!

  • Believe it or not, the clothes you wear can have measurable effect on the way you act and feel. Research has shown that dressing well can subtly increase your confidence, your ability to attract romantic partners, and even the quality of your work. On the other hand, dressing shabbily or neglecting your hygiene can be a sign of depression.

5. Get some exercise. 

Exercise is a fantastic addition to any lovely day — not only is it a great long-term move for your health, but can also give you a noticeable mood boost in the short term. Medical research has shown that exercise triggers the release of chemicals called endorphins in the body that produce feelings of happiness and well-being. In fact, exercise is often prescribed as a treatment for mild depression.

  • If possible, try to exercise outside (for instance, by going for a bike ride, jogging, doing pushups on the back porch, etc.) Stepping outside even for a short amount of time has been shown to noticeably boost one's mood and self-esteem.

6. Indulge your hobbies. 

Everyone has things they love to do for their own joy and personal fulfillment. On your lovely day, try spending at least an hour doing one or more of these things. You'll come away from the experience with a satisfying feeling of accomplishment that you may not have had in a long time if you've been bogged down with tons of work or life commitments.

  • For example, if you're an amateur baker, try your hand at baking some mouthwatering cookies. Doing this gives you a chance to practice an activity you love doing (and, most importantly, enjoy some delicious baked goods). You may even want to try flexing your culinary creativity by modifying your favorite recipes to create something new — for instance, adding a pinch of orange zest to chocolate chip dough can make an unbelievable flavor combination.

7. Write a letter. 

In the age of email, smartphones, and social media, snail mail is a rarity. However, both writing and receiving letters can be an absolute joy. Take a little time on your lovely day to write or type an honest-to-goodness letter to a friend, family member, or significant other. Your letter doesn't necessarily have to be about anything important. Even simply writing about how you're feeling lately and what you've been up to can be a rewarding opportunity for self-reflection (not to mention a treat for your recipient to read.)

  • If you're not sure where to start, try writing about happy events you've shared with your reader — these should get your thoughts flowing. For example, if you've been on fishing trips together, you can say something like: "I truly enjoyed our fishing trips off the Baja coast. I feel lately that I've been working just so that I can afford another trip out there." You may even want to personalize it even more: "The fishing trip in May was awesome! How are y'all doing in California?"
  • If you'd like, feel free to add a drawing, a few photos, or even a little present for your recipient. Even simple additions tell your readers that you care for them enough to take the time and effort to perfect the letter.

8. Curl up with a book. 

Just because solitary pursuits like reading are quiet doesn't mean they can't be exciting or rewarding. Try reading a book for an hour or so before you go to bed as the perfect closer to your lovely day. Reading is just as wonderful when you're 9 years old as it is when you're 90. For maximum enjoyment, take your book with you to your sofa or bed with a blanket and a warm cup of tea or cocoa. Encourage a pet to sit with you for simple, quiet companionship.

  • If you don't have any good reading material, try taking a trip to your local library. Libraries are fantastic, often-underutilized public resources. At a decent-sized library, it's easy to find almost anything you could possibly want to read for very cheap, and many have comfy easy chairs or attached cafes to read your new (old) book in.

II. Having a Lovely Day with Your S.O.

1. Spritz yourself with a dash of your favorite scent. 

If you'd like to spend the perfect day with your lover, consider marking the occasion by putting on a little perfume, cologne, or aftershave — especially if you don't normally do so. A small sprinkling of an enticing scent can make a subtle (but noticeable) difference that your partner will most likely appreciate. Be sure to brace yourself — studies have shown that scent plays an important role in sexual attraction!

  • To wear perfume or cologne, spray a tiny amount on your wrists, and perhaps dab a touch behind your ears. Other places, especially those where the blood vessels are thickest, like behind your knees and elbows, can also benefit from a gentle spray. Just be careful that it's you who's wearing the fragrance (and not the fragrance who's wearing you).
  • Note that many deodorants, especially those for men, already have a strong scent or perfume in them. In this case, avoid adding an additional perfume on top of the first. Wearing multiple scents can cause "clashing", overpowering results that aren't usually very flattering.

2. Enjoy dessert together. 

Try making a jaunt over to your local cafe or ice cream shop for a sweet time! You don't even have to have a meal beforehand — in the words of Ally Craig in Remember Me: "I just don't see the point in waiting. I mean, what if I die while eating my entrée?". Indulging in treats you wouldn't normally enjoy together is a great way to mark this special occasion. It's also quite fitting — today, your whole day is a "dessert" for you and your partner to enjoy.

3. Go exploring. 

Enjoy the day's freedom by going somewhere you've never been before. This can be someplace as simple as a trail in your local park or someplace as exciting as the wide-open wilderness — with the right attitude, both can offer great opportunities for exploration. The sounds of birds, the sight of the light filtering through the trees, and the fresh smell of nature will improve your mood right away and give you an opportunity to have a relaxing, heartfelt conversation. Plus, walking is proven form of stimulating, mood-lifting exercise you both get to share together!

  • If you live in the city or somewhere without any wilderness nearby, you can still explore — just take a walk around your neighborhood. Greet the people you meet with a smile, or just keep yourselves — it's up to you.

4. Pick fresh fruit. 

Going to an orchard (or just out into the wilderness) to pick fruit is highly underrated — it's cheaper, fresher and much more fun than buying berries from the store (not to mention the fact that you get to snack as you go). Best of all, this makes a highly enjoyable couples activity — for instance, you can compete to see who can collect more fruit or pool your resources together to make a pie!

  • Depending on where you live and what time of the year it is, different fruits will be available for picking. Try consulting with a botanical resource to figure out what's ripe — apples, for instance, can be bought at the supermarket all year, but only get ripe in the fall.
  • A word of caution — some plants you may find in the wilderness may be poisonous, so if you're ever less than 100% sure about something you've found, don't eat it. For example, nightshade berries, which are small, black, and shiny, may look appetizing, but they can actually be deadly in sufficient quantities.

5. Collaborate on an art project. 

If you haven't done so before, try exploring your artistic side with your partner! Drawing, painting, writing a song, and even making your own short film can be mind-expanding ways to spend your afternoon. You may even discover things about your partner that you weren't aware of as part of the artistic process — your girlfriend, for instance, may have an eye for expressive camera angles to rival Stanley Kubrick's. Even if the finished product isn't exactly what you had in mind, you'll have an imperfect work of art you can laugh about in the future, so get your creative juices flowing!

6. Pamper yourselves with spa time. 

If you haven't ever gone to a spa with your partner before, consider visiting one as part of your "lovely day," even if it's not something you'd normally do. Getting a relaxing massage or spending some time in the sauna can leave you feeling completely refreshed and rejuvenated, especially if you've recently been stressed out. Even the manliest of men are allowed at spas, so don't be afraid if you've never been before!

  • You don't have to make an appointment at an expensive spa to have a good time. If you're short on cash, try making your own personal spa date at home. Run a deep, warm bath for two and wash yourself with the best soap you have handy before moisturizing your whole body with a good body lotion. Light a few candles is to make things even more romantic!

7. Go shopping for vintage clothing. 

Diving into the bargain bins at a local thrift shop with your partner can be an entertaining experience. You won't always find something great (and sometimes you'll find something horrendous), but occasionally, you'll come across some truly stylish vintage clothing. Treasure hunting in vintage shops can be a lot of fun if you're open to it — you won't know what's out there in your size until you go hunt for it!

  • The benefits of shopping for vintage clothes are many: for example, you don't ever have to worry about whether or not your friends have bought the same piece of clothing as you — odds are, you have the only copy of your shirt in town! The shopping process itself is also a lot more fun and engaging than going to the mall and simply buying expensive new clothes.

8. Catch the sunset. 

If you have time, try to be somewhere that you'll have a clear view of the setting sun in the evening with your partner. Sometimes, it's a lovely experience to just sit quietly in each others' arms and watch the sun go down. This can be an exceptionally intimate experience if you've had a hustling, bustling day full of activities. It's often unusual to get the chance to be completely silent for a few minutes, so make the most of it!

  • You can usually find the exact time that the sun will go down in your area online with a simple search engine query. Usually, the absolute most you'll need to do is input your location and the date for which you'd like to know the sunset time.

9. Go dancing. 

End your day by going out and enjoying each others' company on the dance floor! The type of music you dance to is up to you and your partner — it doesn't matter whether it's ballroom waltzes or heavy metal as long as you love it! It may be easiest to do your dancing in the company of other people in a club or dancehall, but if you're really bold, you can do it in a park, on the street corner, or in your backyard. You can even do it by candlelight in your own house if you want to set a romantic mood.

  • You never need to worry about how you look while dancing with your partner! Just close your eyes, feel the music, and move. Remember, you're doing this for each others' attention — not the attention of the people around you.
  • If you're shy about dancing, don't worry! Many dance halls have "beginner's nights" or dance classes to teach you the basics so that you can enjoy yourself when it counts! You can even take dance classes at many gyms and Universities, so take a look online for opportunities near you!

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