4 min read

Leap Ahead! 10 ways to make the most of an extra day

Today is Leap Day, a day that comes just once every four years, during Leap Year. Leap Year is a result of the time it takes the Earth to orbit around the sun, which is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds.There’s a bit of slip time that happens (where we lose time), so scientists figured out that some changes would have to be made to the calendar to make up the slack. From that need, Leap Year (and Leap Day) was born- and February gets an extra day, a whole extra 24 hours for us to use!

For many of us, day to day life can be busy. It can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to stay on track, let alone get ahead. Most people are trying to squeeze the most they can out of their time. Having an extra day is like “found time”. So don’t treat today just like any other day – make the most of it! Here are 10 things you can do to celebrate Leap Day:

  1. Smile at 29 people. Smiling lowers stress and anxiety, makes you more approachable and best of all – it’s contagious!
  2. Take 29 deep breaths. Deep breathing relaxes our bodies, clears the mind and elevates your mood. It also can strengthen your immune system, improves posture and more!
  3. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile and talk for at least 29 minutes (see a ’29’ theme here?). Reconnecting with past friends will allow you to see the world in a new light. We sometimes can let friendships slip as our lives get busier – taking the time to reach out to an old friend can warm the heart and brighten their day.
  4. Spend 29 minutes outside. While the weather may not be great given the time of year, spending time outside boosts creativity and focus, improves mood and self-esteem and can also help maintain vitamin D levels in the body (even when its cold out!)
  5. Make a playlist of 29 songs that make you feel awesome. Music can be a great “pick-me-up”; it can help us feel emotions like happiness, excitement and  joy. Upbeat music can also reduce anxiety and stress, boosts our immune system and helps keep our brains healthy.
  6. Spend 29 minutes talking to your family about their day. Ask everyone to share the best part of their day and why it made them happy. Make sure everyone has a chance to talk and discuss what made their day special.
  7. Get more sleep – try going to bed an extra 29 minutes earlier. When we are well-rested we are less prone to injury and illness. Extra sleep can brighten our mood, help us maintain a healthy weight and improve decision making and focus.
  8. Exercise for at least 29 minutes. Go for a walk, head to the gym – get moving! Exercise, even in 10 minute increments boosts the “happy chemicals” in our brains, improves confidence and builds brain power. And of course, it offers a lot of other physical benefits as well.
  9. Set goals for yourself – goals that are just for you, where you are the sole beneficiary. Take the time to evaluate your life right now and think of three short term goals (29 might be too lofty – it’s important to set a realistic, attainable number of goals) that you’d like to work on. Perhaps its reading a book every month, or learning a new recipe. Determine what steps you’d need to take to make it happen and set timelines. Don’t forget to decide how you will reward your success!
  10. Take 29 minutes just for you. Take a relaxing hot bath. Read. Take a time out. Stress and stress related illness. Stress and anxiety are prevalent right now during uncertain economic times in Alberta. Spending time on your own allows you to gear down, refresh and be more ready to tackle the outside world.

Leap year may only happen every four years – but perhaps some of these 10 ideas can become a daily/weekly/monthly practice for you!