When you think about the time you have off during the holidays, how do you spend it? When you aren’t vacationing overseas, what do you do while taking time off and staying home?

On average, American employees use only 54 percent of their available vacation time. For those who do take advantage of their time off, they spend it doing nothing productive and watching time pass until it’s time to go back to work. This might be okay for some, but for others, they want to use their time off to explore and create adventures. Doing so is necessary to put yourself in the right mindset before it’s time to buckle down and work.

Let’s look at a few ways you can make the most of your time off this holiday season.

Be productive with your passions

Work can stop you from spending time on your passions and cultivating your creativity. Working long hours makes many feel burned out and too tired to come home and work on a side project. That’s why the holidays are the perfect time to get back to what you love doing.

If you’ve been meaning to create a blog or get to the gym, use your time off to do so. You likely don’t get many opportunities throughout the year where you have long stretches of time to work on things. During the holiday season, having celebrations one after another makes it possible to start and finish that project you’ve been putting off. It also lets you blow off steam and dig into your creative outlet.

Learn to relax

If you’re used to working long hours and dedicating lots of time to your job, then it’s normal to feel like you need to continue that routine into your vacation time. However, it’s crucial that you take the extra time to relax and enjoy learning how to do so.

Do things you wouldn’t usually have time for during your regular routine. Consider the things you want to experience just for the pure enjoyment of it. Spend an hour in a hot bubble bath, take a yoga class, or read that thriller you want to devour.

People never fail to make excuses for why they don’t do the things they enjoy. With your seasonal time off, it’s important to leave the excuses behind and start creating reasons why you should do what you love.

Be spontaneous 

Sometimes the best times you have are those that have no plan. Going on a paid vacation is one thing, but if you’re home for your time off, you have more wiggle room in your schedule for adventures. 

Don’t be afraid to live spontaneously and do things out of the blue. If you’re used to sitting in front of the couch to binge-watch soap operas, then leave that for your routines. Now is the time to throw away your preconceived notions of what you should do and instead dive into new experiences.

Spend a day or two living without a plan. Ditch your everyday routines and do things differently. If you usually work out at the gym, try going for a run in your neighborhood instead. If you always visit restaurant A, consider trying restaurant B. See where you can cut out the monotony and try new things.


When you have time off, it’s easy to get sucked in by distractions watch the time go by. You can spend hours mindlessly consuming social media, movies, and television without realizing it. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying entertainment, but if that’s the only thing you do, then you aren’t truly maximizing your time off. 

Your vacation days let you happily ignore your phone and its notifications. You aren’t obligated to return anyone’s calls or perform work tasks, which makes it the perfect time to unplug. Set up an out-of-office autoreply that notifies people about your time off and when you’ll be back. You can ease back into work knowing that those who reached out to you knew where you were and that you’d respond when you could.

Choose to spend time away from the TV and your phone at some point during the day. Doing so lets you use your time wisely and be productive. 


If you want to maximize your time off, then you need to treat it with just as much thought and consideration as your work time. The holidays give you an opportunity to relax and enjoy life as you want to, so take advantage of it while you can.