Most of us are working remotely right now. Why would we want to use one of our precious and valuable paid time off days when we’re already home and there really isn’t anywhere to go? Well, because of our mental health. It’s important to take PTO if you have it.

I don’t know about you, but for me, working from home is taking its toll on me. I find myself more tired, drained, and like I am going non-stop. This is why it is important to still take PTO—because it will help prevent you from getting burnt out, which is so much easier to do in this virtual environment and with everything going on in the world.

If you are still hesitant to take your PTO as you do not want to “waste” the days, here are some great ideas to take PTO that do not involve traveling.

5 Ways to Take PTO Without Traveling

1. Sleep In 

Our bodies need sleep. Even if you work all day in your pajamas, that is not synonymous with getting the sleep you need. Take PTO and spend the day in bed!

Do not set an alarm and just sleep in, and when you wake up, stay in bed. You can watch tv, read a book, or just lay there with your eyes closed.

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Do not keep your laptop or your work phone in the room with you and entirely disconnect. Do a face mask, make coffee and bring it into bed, and just spend the day relaxing in bed. How many times do you get to do something like that?

2. Go For A Long Walk 

If the weather is nice outside, go for a long walk. Explore your neighborhood. If you have friends and/or family around who may not work, ask them to go with you. Otherwise, plug in a fun playlist or your favorite podcast and just enjoy the fresh air outside.

If you live near a park, take a walk there and enjoy the beauty of the area that you live in. Plus, this walk can be for as long as you would like it to be since you do not need to run back to your laptop for a meeting or to meet a deadline. And who knows, maybe you’ll stumble on a cute new coffee shop, bookstore, or store on your walk that you may not have noticed before.

3. Go For A Long Drive 

Do you have a car? Take advantage of it! Get out of your neighborhood for a bit and go for a long drive.

Is there a place you can go hiking a bit away? The beach? A friend or family member that may live an hour or more away? Use this day of PTO to “get out” for a bit.

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Even if you have no endgame in mind, just get into your car and start driving. See where you end up. You may not even get out of the car if you don’t want to, but even while driving, you will have a change of scenery that would definitely be refreshing.

4. Binge Watch Shows/Marathon Reading

Are there shows that you have been wanting to watch but just haven’t had the time? Or, is there a mound of books in your home that you have been meaning to read but haven’t been able to? Have a show/movie/book marathon! What better way to get your mind off of work than to immerse it into something else?

Plus, if you choose a show/movie/book that takes place somewhere that is not in your area, it will make you feel almost like you are traveling, too. You can also ask your friends and family what they have been watching or reading and check out one of those recommendations. This will give you something to talk about once you finished, making your day even more worthwhile!

5. Retail Therapy 

Stores tend to be packed on weekends because that’s when everyone is off from work. Do you know when it’s not as packed? During work hours. Take advantage of less crowded spaces, shorter lines, and an overall better (and safer) shopping experience.

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If there is a mall or outlets that you have been wanting to get to but have not been able to find a day that you can dedicate to it, now’s the day! Maybe even venture out to one that is a bit farther from you than the one you typically go to.

As someone who used to travel multiple times per year, I will be the first to vouch that it sucks when you have to use your precious PTO and not travel. But, it’s important, both for your mental health and if your PTO days expire at the end of the year.

There are still fun things you can take off from work and spend the day doing. All of these things will give you the break that you need, and allow you to feel refreshed, helping to prevent any burnt out.

What have you been doing on days you have taken PTO?