Duvet days. Two words that instinctively make your shoulders go down by several inches. In theory, they’re a time for burrowing deep under the covers and emerging only for food, water and the occasional gulp of oxygen. Typically, we associate them with the tail end of the year, because when it’s cold and rainy outside, staying warm under the covers is more than tempting. But duvet days aren’t all about hibernation mode. Duvet days are for any month of the year, days with rain or shine, for summer and for winter.
But do people ever actually take them? Is it just a notion that sounds appealing, but real life gets in the way of you ever having one? Quite possibly. A duvet day sounds like it should be the most effortless thing in the world. And when you do have one, it is, but it takes a bit of discipline to get there in the first place…
Let’s start by addressing what a duvet day actually is. Duvet days are last-minute days off when you wake up and wish that you could just stay in bed. They’re intended to be entirely transparent so that people are less likely to ‘pull a sickie’; some companies allocate a number of allowed duvet days a year. They’re a bit of a ‘cool culture’ concept that started in America, but is still far from being widespread here in Great Britain. Aside from being a term in the world of work, duvet days are what people say to describe days of total rest, supine or sat up, in bed. They’re the ultimate lie-in.
Whether you’ve taken a duvet day before or are about to make your debut, there’s a bit of mental preparation to do first. Number one, be ready to bat away any feelings of guilt. They will creep in, because you’re about to do something incredibly indulgent, which, you’ll naturally feel you shouldn’t be doing.
Next, think about what you’re going to need to have ready in advance, because a duvet day is about rest and recuperation (R&R), not running ragged (the wrong sort of R&R). It’s also a soothing kind of anticipation to ponder over things like, should I get ingredients in to do a spot of baking when I rise from my first nap?
Thirdly, make a promise to yourself that you’ll find time for a duvet day, somehow, this summer. In lighter, brighter months, they have a different kind of restorative satisfaction. Winter duvet days are about cosiness, comfort and snoozing. Summer’s version is more about refreshment, recharging, relaxing, blowing off the cobwebs, and feeling revitalised the next day.
A duvet day gives you the opportunity to say ‘cancel everything, today’s going to be all about me.’ It’s not easy to do. Life’s busy, to-do lists grow rather than ever reducing, paperwork piles up, laundry doesn’t do itself, hobbies happen, social outings fill up the diary. But all of these things mean that we live life at 100mph and many of us are tired. All the time. But sometimes, we need to just do it. Life will go on if you have to clear your diary for the day.
Perhaps your version of a duvet day can’t be so impromptu. Perhaps you need to, ironically, plan to be spontaneous, if it will help you relax and make the most of your duvet day. For us, we know that, lingering in back of our minds, would be that persistent voice that chirps on the hour ‘but what about the food shop?’ or ‘you’re still going to have that tax return to do tomorrow’. Before spending a day in bed, we’d need to make sure all those tasks had been put to bed themselves first. If you have little people in your life, a duvet day becomes that bit more tricky to factor in, but again, with a touch of planning, a partner, grandparent, sibling or understanding friend could whisk them off for the day and you could return the favour for them to take their own duvet day.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way, there’s a duvet day.
(You’ll thank yourself for it.)