While Labor Day weekend should be a time used to recover from work and burnout, many find separating the workday from the weekend challenging, especially in quarantine.
Higher levels of anxiety or loneliness are totally normal but there are a wide variety of things you can do to enjoy your long weekend while staying productive and taking care of yourself.
Whether you’re still mourning the cancelation of your long weekend vacation or you’re hoping to take the long weekend to get things done, there are tons of activities and challenges that you can easily do from home that will make the long weekend less drab.
We’ve pulled together a list of some productive (and fun) activities that will ensure you make the most of your long weekend—even if you do have to spend it at home.
Take on a batch cooking project.
“Make a few lasagnas, eat one and put the other two in the freezer,” suggests Alexis Haselberger Productivity, Time Management and Leadership Coach.
“Double a batch of soup or mapo tofu and freeze half or make an enormous amount of dumplings, wontons or perogies and freeze most.”
These are fun projects that the whole family can get in on, and you’ll be so happy in the coming weeks after a busy day when you can simply reheat something delicious from your freezer.
Declutter your house (or a part of your house).
We’ve been inside for eight or more weeks now and we’ve never used the stuff in our house more.
According to Haselberger, it should be easy to walk around your house and declutter anything you haven’t used in recent memory, or don’t find beautiful in some way.
“Studies show that clutter increases cortisol, the stress hormone, and makes us more easily distractible, so decluttering will make you more productive and less stressed.” she urges.
Set short-term and long-term goals.
Don’t let fear of failure stop you!
Personal development blogger Samantha Warren suggests using the long weekend to dream big, plan strategically, and go for it. “If you do fail, don’t let it discourage you—just learn from your mistakes, get back up, and try again!”
Start a side hustle.
“If you lost your job as a result of COVID-19, now is a good time to brainstorm ways you can make money on the side,” says Warren.
“Starting a side hustle is easier said than done, and it’s a ton of work, but it will give you more financial security.”
Create a self-improvement plan for yourself.
Proper planning is the key to achieving any goal.
“If you want to make self-improvement a priority this year, you should get organized and create an actionable plan for your personal growth.” says Warren.
Take inventory of your pantry.
“If you find yourself in quarantine stuck in your home or just with a long weekend without plans, there are some fun food-related activities to get creative and do in place of watching television all day,” says Lisa Richards, Nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet.
“Take inventory of your pantry and freezer items, make a list, and come up with some new meals you can make using what you already have in your home.” This can help you expand your groceries while also finding some new recipes to use in the future.
Teach yourself how to cook.
On the other hand, if you’re spending the majority of your monthly budget on UberEats, consider taking things into your own hands and do some cooking.
Whether you’re comfortable in the kitchen or not, taking on a cooking project can be a really fun activity that will yield great results (or it will be a lesson!).
Either way, you’ll walk away with a sense of accomplishment that you won’t find on UberEats.
Start a vegetable garden.
Starting a new vegetable garden can be both fun and rewarding.
“Tending the soil, planting the seeds, watering them, and watching them as the plants grow will be a fantastic way to spend your extra time,” says Lilia Manibo, productivity writer and editor.
Replant ornamental plants and succulents.
If you don’t have any outdoor space, giving some love to your houseplants is an equally rewarding activity.
Replanting or rearranging your plants and succulents will freshen up your space while ensuring your greenery is as healthy as possible.
Make a zen garden.
“I made a little zen garden next to my veggie garden which is a recommended project for anyone who wants to add a little vibe to their life and yard,” says Christine Wang, Founder of The Ski Girl.
“It’s simple and is somewhat like a sandbox for adults!” All you have to do is clear out a section of your yard – maybe a 10’X10′ square or so. Then, level the ground, lay down a weed barrier fabric and then cover the area with sand. “You can put rocks or plants organized however you’d like. It’s a great way to destress and energize yourself.”
Start a blog or a YouTube channel.
“If you love creating content and share them to people, then create a channel where you can best promote them!” suggests Manibo. You can use social media to share your thoughts, tips, and inspirational nuggets of wisdom—and who knows?
You might be able to turn your passion into a side hustle.
Color, paint, and draw.
While you might think productivity only applies to actionable to-dos, taking time to develop your arts and crafts side can be a calming release, and in turn, a good friend to your productivity—whether that means drawing, painting, coloring, or a little of everything.
Learn a new dance.
“Staying fit and healthy is a must when you’re in quarantine,” says Manibo. If you do not have some fitness equipment, then you can try new dance steps, create your own, or even venture into TikTok dance challenges.
Get down with a sport.
If dancing isn’t your thing, consider hopping on your bike and going for a ride or taking a social distancing walk through your neighborhood.
“There are countless ways to enjoy the weekend and moving your body will only make you feel better, so long as it’s safe. What are you waiting for?”
Watch information-based documentaries.
“You can’t deny that being in quarantine has made us face our TV screen more,” says Norhanie Pangulima, lifestyle and relationship expert.
“Actually, you can grab this opportunity to expand your intellectual capacity by watching informative documentaries on Netflix while eating your favorite snack!”
Make a DIY reading nook at your home.
If you like to read, you might find enjoyment in creating a special place for reading at your home.
Depending on your ambition and space, you can make a few decorative changes around a chair you use for reading or refurbish a non-working fireplace with shelves, drapes, candles, cushions, and rugs.
“I suggest researching some ideas you like, assessing your options with the budget and space you have, and then moving on to creating the nook,” says Mira Rakicevic, Co-Founder of Comfy Living. “It will be a thing that you’ll be proud of in the months to come, and which will reinforce the reading habit for you and your entire family.”
Start and finish a book.
After you’ve finished creating your reading nook, crack open a book! “We often see reading for pleasure as escapism that wastes time,” says podcast host Jeff Cook.
“Even if you’re reading the most indulgent fiction, this isn’t true so don’t feel guilty about picking up a new book this long weekend. No matter what you’re reading, you’re benefiting from it!”
Learn to lay a new instrument.
“With all this free time, the most productive thing you can do (for any hobby) is starting something and practicing at it,” says Isaiah Ram, music instructor.
“I work with novice musicians, all the way up to professional recording artists and the same thing I stress to them is to create, practice, and use this time to get better at something”
Try something new on the BBQ.
“It’s definitely the beginning of barbecue season so get creative and tackle some new grilling projects,” says Wang.
“You might not be able to have a big party with a bunch of friends over, but you still can treat yourself and your family to an awesome meal… Make the most of the time and try something new!”
Build a fire pit.
If you’ve always wanted to make s’mores from home, this weekend is a great time to build your own fire pit.
There are tons of DIY fire pit kits available and they’re always worth the investment.
That said, make sure to check with your local county before getting started to ensure you’re allowed to have a fire.
Write a song.
Whether you consider yourself creative or not, flexing your song-writing muscle is a great way to work your brain in a fun way without taking anything too seriously.
Alternatively, consider writing a parody of an existing song and surprising your friends with a solo show on Zoom.
Play a game.
No outdoor equipment? No problem. Vindy Teja, a TEDx Speaker, Professional Life & Divorce Coach, says classic games like charades and 20 questions can be fun for everyone and require no equipment or planning.
Alternatively, Teja suggests making a Tik Tok video with your kids – they enjoy laughing hysterically at their parents. “The bonus bonding experience will be priceless,” Teja says.
Build in some balance.
“As a professional coach and as a single parent, I’m keenly aware that balance is a thing,” says Teja. “The garage does need cleaning. The meals have to be made.
Getting those driving lessons hours in for your teen are important. A long weekend is a perfect time to make inroads on home and family projects.
Agree with your loved ones on times during the weekend that some of these things can get done, whether it’s separately or together.”
Start your family tree.
Ancestry tracking websites make it easier than ever to trace back your family name and see where your ancestors come from.
Consider signing up for a free trial and building back as far as you can go. It also makes for a great excuse to call your grandma.
Create a vision board.
Whether or not you believe in the law of attraction or manifestation, taking the time to clip and glue together an inspiring vision board is a fun and motivating way to take a step back and really think about what you want your life to look like.
Try an Instagram home workout.
While gyms remained tightly closed around most of the country, many trainers and coaches have been offering free Instagram live workouts.
Whether you’ve always wanted to try your hand at boxing or you’re curious to see what HIIT is all about, there are thousands of workouts to choose from on a daily basis.
Attempt to meditate.
Meditation is a great way to manage stress and anxiety. While it can be tough to sit still and relax your mind, the only way to get better at it is to start.
Apps like Headspace make it easy and fun to meditate and you’ll be surprised by how relaxed and inspired you feel once your session is complete.
Learn a new language.
Always wanted to learn French? Have a passion for Korean dramas?
Now’s the time to download a language app and get schooled on verbs and conversational dialogues. You might not come out of the long weekend fluent, but it’s a great way to keep your brain active.
Start a journal.
Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts all in one place and figure out solutions to problems you might not even realize you’re going through.
It’s also a great way to flex your creativity and get whatever sparks of inspiration you might have down on paper. You don’t need a fancy notebook or fountain pen to get started—just grab whatever paper you have, or open a Google Doc, and let your thoughts flow.
Send letters and cards to family.
Not being able to spend the long weekend with friends and family is a drag but that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them.
Sure, there’s Zoom and FaceTime, but a hand-written card or letter is a sure-fire way to brighten their day while flexing your creative muscles.