The Hill Life: An August Recess Pep Talk

It’s an election year, and life for those who work in politics is about to get real.  For everyone else, it’s probably about to get really annoying since every commercial seems to be a political ad and it’s only August.  All the more reason for politicos to take advantage of this long recess before the contentious and busy lame-duck session begins.  Here are a few tips for how to make the most of this mini-break:

Make To Do Lists. Before you start relaxing, take a moment to collect your thoughts. Things can fall through the cracks during these long breaks, so write down every thing that you need to accomplish so you don’t forget.  Also, make a list of evergreen tasks to do when you get bored–CRS reports you can read, cleaning out your e-mail, updating your contacts list, re-organizing your documents, etc.

Take a vacation.  Do you have days available?  Pick a place and get away for awhile, or schedule a staycation and just enjoy D.C.  Don’t be a martyr, unless you’re saving your days for a special reason, take this time for yourself.

See your friends.  I’m kind of a homebody, but during August, I take every opportunity I can to get out of the house, especially if I can see my non-Hill friends who usually have to work around my schedule.  So head to a Nationals game, grab a sit-down lunch at a nice restaurant or grab cocktails at that new bar everyone is talking about (The Eddy, The Brixton, Pacifico Cantina, A-Bar.)

Pamper yourself.  Go get a pedicure.  Come home from work and take a bubble bath, read that book you’ve been meaning to get to or lay by the pool and soak up some Vitamin-D.  Be a little selfish with your free time, you deserve it.

Make a D.C. Bucket List.  Have you always wanted to visit one of the local museums but you’ve never had the time?  Do you want to take a day trip to Mount Vernon or Monticello?  Sail on the Potomac?  Watch the Marines Sunset Parade? Or see a play, ballet, symphony or opera at one of our fantastic local theatres?  Then do it.  

Learn Something New.  My friend Kay is taking tennis lessons.  I’m taking an online writing class.  My friend Meyer is taking a barre and spin class at BikerBarre on 8th Street.  

Remodel Your Life. Want to quit coffee, stop smoking, curb your alcohol consumption, eat healthier or start a workout routine?  There is no better time to begin than now.  Even I went to the gym this morning.  Such are the miracles of August recess.  

Do you need to see a dentist, an eye doctor or have a physical?  Have you been looking for time to make it to the dermatologist? Perhaps now is a good time for a new hair color or cut? 

Rehab Your Space. Also, August is also a great time to clean, reorganize and redecorate your home.  I’ve emptied my closet and taken clothes to Goodwill.  I’ve moved furniture so I can vacuum, cleaned off bookshelves and hung art.  I’ve also taken a dozens of pieces to the cobbler, tailor and dry cleaner.  

Recess is a rare gift.  The stress is lower, free time is comparatively plentiful and the Members are out of town.  Your 60-hour-per-week-plus Hill job is, for one brief month, a regular 40-hour per week job.  So take those extra hours and invest them in yourself.  

For more tips on putting your Recess time to good professional use, read this post from last year.



  1. Aunt_Pete says:

    The Eddy is awesome. Go there.

    August 8, 2012/Reply
  2. TA says:

    I wish I could take a vacation but I can't. My wedding is in 2 months and I'll be away from DC for 3 1/2 weeks!!!!! In meantime, to keep my sanity, I'm going bed early and taking weekend getaways to places nearby–i.e.: Williamsburg, Luray, etc.

    August 8, 2012/Reply
  3. Kim says:

    What online class are you taking? I've been looking into them lately myself and would love recommendations.

    August 8, 2012/Reply
  4. Belle says:

    Kim: I'm taking a class on MediaBistro. I was hoping to take novel writing, but it was cancelled. So I'm taking a short class on essay writing.

    August 8, 2012/Reply
  5. Krista says:

    I love A Bar!! It doesn't hurt that it is one block from my apartment…

    August 10, 2012/Reply