Recently I house-sat for some friends. I took care of a 5 month old pupper named Potato and worked on my assignment. It was almost like a holiday. A really productive holiday. Here’s five ways to make the most of house-sitting and have yourself a mini-retreat.

1. Buy nice food

Plan to cook a new recipe or an old favourite. Or just buy snacks you like. Mix it up, shop differently and enjoy the change in routine. If you’re really needing a change, trying eating vegan or vegetarian while you’re away from home.

2. Explore a new local area

Take the dog for a walk. Or just go for a walk. See what you can find without using Google Maps. Enjoy new scenery.

3. Plan a nice outing

You might want to use Google Maps for this part. Find a nearby cafe, restaurant, theatre, art gallery, bar or anything that you wouldn’t normally be close to. Plan an outing there, alone or with friends. Pretend to be a local and live it up.

4. Try different routines

Outside of your normal setting, try doing things a little differently. Try eating breakfast before your morning shower. Try showering at a different time of day. Or take a bath. Use this opportunity to experiment with how you do things – you may find it works better. Or you may just appreciate your normal routine even more.

5. Work hard at a project

This one is more optional. I had an assignment to do, so I worked really hard at being productive which I was house-sitting, planning in my breaks with nice outings and Potato walks. But if you have an ongoing project you never have time for, this could be a chance to make serious progress. Writing a story? Sorting out photos on your laptop? Finishing a drawing or art project? Whatever it is, a change of environment might help more than you realize.

Here’s a few more pictures of the pupper I looked after; thanks for letting me hang out with you Potato!

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