Doona Days come in two very different forms.
The first is the type where you stay in bed all day because you simply can not face the prospect of getting up – the days where the stress or anxiety or depression or apathy become so overwhelming that you simply can not summon the energy to overcome them. The response is to pull the doona over your head and lie there, either buffeted by a whirlwind of existential anguish or sinking into the black emptiness of despair. These are truly awful days, frightening, interminable and soul-destroying.
But there is a second kind of Doona Day. These are the days when you give yourself permission to stay in bed all day, because you are tired or because you have been working hard and deserve a break. These are days when you spot the cracks appearing, and make the sensible decision to take time out for a few running repairs. Days when you do whatever you need to do to get back on track, whether it is taking stock, resting or enjoying completely pointless self-indulgence.
These Doona Days have an investment mentality, recognising that one healthy day off can allow you to rejuvenate and keep going, whereas stubbornly pushing on can lead to a significant crash that puts you out of action for weeks. Far from seeing these days as a failure, we can view them as intelligent and strategic retreats - the brief pause that allows us to marshal our resources for a successful campaign. These days can be such a valuable asset that you may like to schedule them regularly and proactively, rather than waiting for the warning bells to sound.
So what does a healthy Doona Day look like? Well, that is an entirely personal decision but it may include:
- Your most comforting lounging clothes
- Your most glamorous lounging clothes
- Your favourite books, music, movies or blogs (whether comforting or inspiring)
- Delicious, nourishing food
- Delicious, unnourishing treats
- Your favourite home-delivered meals
- A large pot of tea, served in your best tea pot and tea cups
- A sketch pad and coloured pencils
- Crafts or creative projects
- Puzzle books or jigsaws
- Photographs from happy times
- Phone calls to your favourite people
- Books or other tools that reconnect you with your values and goals
- A journal for cathartic ranting or thoughtful reflection
- A planner or calendar, to prioritise and organise your to-do list and address problems head-on
- Pampering supplies for facials, manicures, foot massages, etc
- Meditation or relaxation activities
- Scented candles
- A vision board and a pile of magazines
- A few alcoholic drinks (but not too early and not too many – alcohol is a quick fix, but makes anxiety and depression worse in the long run.)
You might also think about the things a Doona Day should not involve. To get the full benefit of your day off, do you need to turn off your phone, avoid news websites or steer clear of email?
Importantly, declaring a Doona Day doesn't mean you have to stay in bed. If you are struck by the urge to do some yoga, or clean out your wardrobe, or take yourself off to an art gallery, then go ahead! The key is to only do things that you really want to do, not things that you feel you should do.
And finally, Doona Days can be a shared experience. When our children were younger, we regularly declared Pyjama Days, when no-one had to get out their pyjamas all day - the kids loved them! Couples can also benefit from a shared day in bed (when you may well be able to add to the activities listed above...)