Change is as good as a holiday

Do something different during your time off and feel years younger. Jurgen Wolff has extraordinary ideas

The holidays can easily fly by almost without you noticing. One way to make the most of your free time is to do something out of the ordinary. This may be an exciting trip to an exotic location, but there are also many less expensive and time-consuming ways to enjoy your free time, simply by exercising your creativity. To get you started, here are a few unusual ideas to awaken you to the potential of every day - and a new you.

* Read your own tea leaves. As you peer at the dregs, imagine what they might be telling you about the best way to spend your time today.

* Send a friend a thank-you card. Don't put your name and address on it, and don't sign it. Inside, write something like: "I just thought you should know you are appreciated." Disguise your handwriting and don't ever tell them it was you.

* Take a walk and imagine you are your favourite character from a book or film. How would he or she see this world? What would this person's feelings be about what you encounter? If you're feeling brave, have a chat with a stranger while staying in character (in other words, talk like your character, too).

* Pick the most recent big event in your life. What can you learn from the experience?

* For a day, carry a coin in your pocket. Make all minor decisions by flipping it.

* At the start of the day, write your own horoscope (make it positive). During the course of the day, see how much of it you can make come true.

* The next time you ask someone how they are and they reply with a perfunctory "Fine", say, "That's great. What's the best thing that's happened to you recently?"

* Make three genuine compliments to people you meet. Notice their reactions.

* Get on a bus or tube going in any direction. Choose a number between five and 10. Travel that many stops, get out, and wander around for half an hour.

* Go into a restaurant that features a type of food you seldom eat. Let the waiter or waitress order for you.

* Buy a session in a flotation tank. If that's not practical, sit in a bathtub full of water that's at body temperature, turn off the light, use earplugs, sit back, and let your mind drift.

* For a day, listen at least three times as much as you speak (if necessary, pretend you have a sore throat). Notice any differences in your interactions.

* Make up your own Ten Commandments (for the holidays, or for your life). Unlike the originals, focus more on what thou shalt than on what thou shalt not.

* If you have friends who need more fun and spontaneity in their lives, write one of these ideas (or one of your own) on a postcard and send it to them, and invite them to send back an idea for you.

If you find these activities child-like and not the sort of thing you'd usually do, that's the idea. Why not make your holidays such fun that when it's time to go back to work, you'll feel at least a decade younger?

Next week: Exploring your own heroic journey. Jurgen Wolff is a hypnotherapist, teacher, and writer. His most recent book is 'Do Something Different' published by Virgin Business Guides. His free monthly Brainstorm creativity e-bulletin is available by request to:

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