If you don’t have a week to get away, you can still call a personal time-out. Here are five ways to renew your mind. SPEND THE DAY at your local library or favorite bookstore. Browse books or magazines off your usual reading path. ENROLL in an adult-education class with your school district. Whether it’s Italian lessons, woodworking, interior decorating or something else, try a subject you’ve been interested in but never made time to pursue. PLAY TOURIST. Visit an art museum, a historical society or a zoo. Leave each one knowing something new. ATTEND A PLAY. Focus on the characters’ complexities, the dialogue or the plot twists to see the production in a new way. START A BOOK GROUP. An evening spent discussing ideas fires the imagination.
Pamper yourself with new exercises, recipes and spa treatments. WALK. You’ve heard it a thousand times, but it really will make everything better. Walking salves a stressful workday and soothes a worried mind. SCHEDULE A BATH. Lock the door, pop in your own music and hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door as the tub fills with warm, bubbly water. Everyone can live without you for an hour, and they’ll like you better when you emerge, smiling. TRY A NEW EXERCISE routine. Whether it’s yoga or karate or swimming, shake up your physical regimen. HIRE A PERSONAL CHEF for a week. For an extra treat, hire someone who specializes in healthy eating (www.personal chefsearch.com). VISIT A DAY SPA and try an unusual service. Hot-stone massage, aromatherapy pedicures or mud wraps offer unique rejuvenation.
These ideas, both high-energy and low-key, will help send your spirit soaring. VOLUNTEER FOR A CAUSE you’re passionate about. Whether it’s social, medical or political, it will invigorate your soul. BOYCOTT TELEVISION for one week. Brainstorm entertainment alternatives with your family and friends. CREATE A SPACE that is yours only. If you can’t spare a whole room at home, check out the local art scene for cheap studio space, or simply spend a night alone in a nearby hotel. There, you can read, create, meditate, gab on the phone or journal. TAKE AN AFTERNOON DRIVE. Alone. Bring along an audio book or a stack of your favorite CDs for company. DESIGNATE DAILY QUIET TIME. Clear off 15 minutes to an hour of each day to sit quietly and do nothing. Try the same time every day for one week to help ignite a new habit.