Health Advocate Blog

29 smart ways to maximize your extra Leap Year day

Time—it’s something everyone says they want more of. And this year, everybody gets more time—specifically one more day! February 29 is Leap Day, and it only comes around once every four years.

Take advantage of this extra day by using it to do something to increase your well-being, reduce your stress, connect and reconnect with who and what matters to you, and reduce life’s “noise” and annoyances. Need some ideas? We’re sharing 29 activities you can do today, on your extra day, to make life easier and more fulfilling.

  1. Call or write a handwritten note to someone you care about and haven’t reached out to in a while. Taking a moment to connect with someone you care about will help each of you feel cared for and valued.
  2. Do some pre-spring cleaning. Studies show that decluttering your space can help you feel less stressed! There’s no need to wait for spring to get started—starting today can help you feel less stressed today!
  3. Tidy your digital desktop. Just like with physical spaces, cluttered digital desktops can make you feel extra stressed. Take a little time to organize your apps into folders on your phone, and/or organize the files on your desktop into folders.
  4. Take an hour just for YOU. Too often, we’re at the mercy of what others want us to do—from family obligations to work obligations and more. Put an appointment on your calendar just for you and do something for yourself that you enjoy.
  5. Make a 2024 bucket list. It doesn’t matter that 1/6 of the year is over. You have 5/6 of the year left! If you frequently find yourself saying things like “I wish I would have done that” or letting your own priorities fall by the wayside, this can help! Give yourself a reasonable goal, such as checking off one bucket list item each remaining month of the year. Make the items reasonable, too, so that they feel fun, not daunting or burdensome.
  6. Remove an obstacle that’s standing between you and a goal. For example, if you’ve been wanting to tidy your bedroom closet but you have a mountain of laundry in there, take a few hours to go to the laundromat and get multiple loads done at once, or outsource it to a laundry service. Bam—obstacle removed! Commence closet clean-out!
  7. Eat that frog! Is there something you’ve been putting off doing—like gathering all your paperwork to do your taxes, or scheduling a medical appointment? Every time you put it off, you’re increasing your stress level. Take a few minutes to do the thing you’ve been procrastinating on—you’ll feel much better when you just get it done and don’t have to worry about it anymore.
  8. Take steps toward doing the thing you’ve been wanting to do that life always seems to get in the way of. In some cases, things don’t get done not because you don’t want to do them, but because there never seems to be time. If you’ve been wanting to try playing pickleball, book time at a local court. If you’ve been wanting to try making a new dessert recipe, go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients. Taking the first step increases the likelihood that you will finally do the activity you want to do!
  9. Give your finances their annual checkup. While it’s important for humans to get an annual checkup, it’s also important for your money to get a yearly checkup. Take an hour or two to check your credit score, review your credit card statements to make sure no fraudulent charges have snuck through, and review your budget to see if there are any changes you need to make.
  10. Revisit some special memories. Life moves so fast that thinking about the past isn’t always top of mind. Page through your old photo albums, whether physical or digital. Relive the feeling of being at an awesome concert or exciting sports game, or being with people or pets who may not be present with you now, but will always be dear to you.
  11. Get outside. There’s something for everybody outside! Whether you take a bike ride, shoot some hoops, walk your dog, plant some seeds, take photographs of nature, or have a moment of mindfulness where you notice and appreciate the sights and sounds of your environment, the great outdoors can often help you feel refreshed and re-energized.
  12. Do a random act of kindness. Doing good feels good—and makes others feel good, too. It doesn’t have to be something big or extravagant—a small no-cost kindness can be just as meaningful. Check out these ideas.
  13. Patronize a local small business. It’s important to support the local businesses that you love. Whether it’s a specialty pet store, local bakery, secondhand bookstore, or a shop aligned with a hobby you enjoy, go give them a little business instead of buying from a bigger retailer online.
  14. Get a library card. If you or your family members have been bored lately, the library is the antidote to boredom! From books (including ebooks!) to movies to video games and more, your local library has a wealth of things to borrow—at no cost to you!
  15. Begin planning a vacation or staycation. The earlier you plan, especially if you’re traveling, the better the rates may be. Plus, planning now gives you something to look forward to!
  16. Start learning something new. From community classes to online courses, there are many ways to learn new hobbies or skills. If you’ve always wanted to learn ballroom dancing, watercolor painting, HTML coding, photography, another language, or anything else, take the first step today. Locate a class or course and sign up!
  17. Have a screen-free evening. After work, it’s easy to sink into your smartphone or binge TV shows. Give yourself a mini digital detox by devoting a night to screen-free activities. From playing tag outside with the kids, grooming your cat or dog, reading a book, trying a new restaurant for dinner, or baking something tasty, there are so many ways to have fun and connect with others while being disconnected from your devices.
  18. Reconfigure a New Year’s resolution. Feeling down because your New Year’s resolution progress hasn’t gone as you hoped? Instead of mentally beating yourself up about it, take a little time to reconfigure that resolution to work better for you. These tips can help.
  19. Set aside an hour to set important reminders. Feeling “behind” or constantly stressed due to forgetting things can really put a damper on your day. Why not take a few minutes to set reminders on your phone so that you don’t forget important things in the future? Add birthdays, anniversaries, reminders to schedule your/your child’s/your pet’s annual wellness exam, reminders to refill prescriptions, and anything else you’d like to stay more on top of.
  20. Let your mind wander. Just sit and be. Listen to your thoughts and see where they take you. When you allow yourself to truly relax your mind, not only can this help reduce stress, but your brain—without having to focus on the usual distractions or responsibilities—may even generate a cool idea or a solution to an irksome problem.
  21. Make a to-don’t list. We make to-do lists all the time—but have you ever tried a to-don’t list? It could be good for your well-being! Consider adding some of these to your to-don’t list: Don’t say yes to every invitation (this can help you avoid spreading yourself to thin), don’t work through your lunch break (this can help you come back to your desk refreshed), or don’t stop at the drive-thru on your way home (this can nudge you in the direction of putting together a healthier meal at home).
  22. Reconnect with old friends and classmates. How long has it been since you thought about your buddies from the neighborhood, middle school, or college? If you find yourself wondering what your old pals are up to, try looking them up on social media and reconnecting with them.
  23. Treat yourself! Life’s too short to be perfectly disciplined every day. Eat the ice cream cone or slice of chocolate cake. Remember, eating well is about making healthy choices most of the time, but it’s okay to enjoy treats in moderation.
  24. Look at your employee benefits with fresh eyes. During the holiday hubbub, how well did you read over your 2024 benefits guide? Now’s a great time to review it so that you can take advantage of all your benefits. Does your employer subsidize a gym membership, offer counseling through an EAP, or offer a wellness coaching program? Taking advantage of these benefits can help you save money and meet some of your well-being goals.
  25. Review your paid subscriptions… If you’ve forgotten about paid subscriptions that you signed up for a while ago but never really use, you’re not alone! Take an hour to review your bank account, credit card account, and other payment accounts. See if there are any subscriptions there—like for streaming channels, apps, or other services—that you don’t use enough to justify the money you’re paying. Unsubscribe from what’s no longer serving you.
  26. Or take an hour to unsubscribe from some emails. Is your email inbox filled with ads and tempting sale offers from stores? Chances are, if you’re having to go through tons of emails every day, it might be adding to your stress. Take a few minutes to unsubscribe from communications you’re no longer interested in, or that could get in the way of your goals. (If you’re trying to save money or pay down debt, you may want to consider unsubscribing from your favorite luxury handbag shop’s emails for now!)
  27. Spend time with someone you love… Whether that’s a friend, family member, or pet, spend some quality time with them. Whether you do an activity or just hang out and chat, being together can make you both feel good.
  28. Or give yourself an hour or two of quiet solitude. If life feels overwhelming, you may need to cut through everyone else’s noise and decompress on your own. Consider reading, taking a nap, taking a walk, journaling, or just enjoying quiet thinking time—solo activities like these can be very restorative.
  29. Make a list/plan of things you can do to make life easier. For example, if your home needs some reorganization, make a plan to focus on one room each month for the next six months and decide which days of the week you’ll commit to organizing. If you are overwhelmed by chores, take a look at your budget and see if you can outsource some tasks—could you get a subscription to a meal delivery service to reduce the time and stress of cooking dinner, or hire a cleaning service to visit your home once a month?