Today is the rare day when I actually know the date. It’s February 29 — Leap Day. Like presidential elections and the Summer Olympics, this day rolls around every four years (always in the same year as those other two events, in fact).
There’s something fascinating about a date that you only get during one-quarter of your years on the planet — an extra, bonus day, that’s a bit outside the norm. According to English tradition, Leap Day is the one day when women can propose to men, the idea being that a day that falls outside the normal social bounds is perfect for breaking convention.
You don’t have to propose to your love today (although if you plan to, be sure to share the story with us!), but I challenge you to break with the tradition of self-sacrifice, and take some time on this bonus day to put yourself first.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Make it a Should-Less Day.
I was listening to the Death Sex & Money podcast when the idea of a “should-less day” came roaring into my life. Actress Ellen Burstyn extolled the virtues of a day where you don’t tell yourself you should do anything — you just do what you want.
No laundry, no errands, no returning that phone call to Grandma that you’ve been putting off. What better time to do this than on Leap Day, an extra 24 hours?
If you can’t find time today (it being Monday and all), set aside a should-less day in the near future. You deserve it.
2. …. Or a Should-Less Hour.
I’m the mom of a toddler. My next completely should-less day should come in about 20 to 25 years.
But even I can find time to carve out a should-less hour, or a should-less afternoon.
Hire a babysitter, get up a little early, or temporarily run away from home and spent some time doing what you want — or doing nothing at all.
3. Make a Phone call.
I know I said up above that you don’t need to return Grandma’s call, and you still don’t.
But do take some time to pick up the phone and call that friend who you miss or that cousin you’ve meant catch up with. Texting is great in our busy lives, but hearing the voice of your loved one is a balm for stress.
4. Share Something Important.
Channel the energy of all those women who became bold enough to propose to their loved ones, and speak up.
No doubt there is something you’ve been too scared, too embarrassed, or too timid to share, but now is the time.
Free yourself from a secret you’ve been holding, or tell your spouse how much your actually love them. It’s Leap Day – let down your walls!
5. Shirk Your Responsibilities.
Take a second to remember back to skipping class in high school. The thrill of skipping out on an obligation and doing something new was potent, and it still is today.
You can decide how big you want to go with this one — using a sick day at work, or just rescheduling that appointment to get your oil changed — but ditch something you should be doing and enjoy sweet freedom.
6. Spoil Yourself.
Take some time on this extra day to do something above and beyond your normal self-care. It doesn’t have to be expensive or grand (although it certainly can be).
Get your nails done. Walk the dog, purely for the sake of getting outside. Engage in some self-love. Take a bath. Light a candle. Eat a cupcake. Pour some wine. Do whatever makes you say “Ahhhhh.”
Whatever you do to celebrate yourself this Leap Day, don’t let it be four years until you incorporate some more time just for you.