So you’ve spent all of Maundy Thursday unwinding and recovering from the hectic—if short—work week that was. But now that the initial appeal of sleeping in and lying around all day is starting to wear off, you may be regretting your decision to spend a lazy Holy Week holiday at home. Though it may be too late to book a room at a beach-front resort, fret not—we’ve come a long way from those days when the Holy Week break meant long hours of house arrest with nothing but dead air to keep you occupied. You may not be able to go out and party (nor would it be appropriate given the season), but you can certainly put your vacation days to good use. Try these seven suggestions for making use of your suddenly-plentiful free time.

home_during_lent_face_mask.jpgTry a new beauty treatment.

A long cloistered weekend is the perfect time for the sort of procedure that would normally have you hiding at home anyway—think Obagi blue peels, Spanish peels, or getting your warts cauterized. In the lead-up to the long vacation, though, you may not have had the time—or foresight—to book an appointment before all the service providers closed shop. Instead, take this time to try a self-tanning treatment, color your hair, do a self peel or test a home dermabrasion kit. The idea is to try any experimental procedure you’ve always been interested in—with the break, you’ll have time to recover and do some damage control if things don’t go right!

Do a detox diet.

Lent is a time for fasting and abstinence, so why not go on a detox diet while you’re at it? The purpose of detoxing is to clear your system of all harmful substances that could be causing allergies and food intolerance, giving you a clean slate and helping your body better absorb the necessary nutrients from food. Want to give it a try? Consider the steps in this About.com detox diet plan; stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, and lots of herbs, and resolve to cut out caffeine, sugar, salt, and all processed foods. Think of it as your Lenten sacrifice—you’ll feel doubly virtuous.

Hold your own personal retreat.

’Tis the season for introspection! Take advantage of the atmosphere of spirituality and stillness to get in touch with your inner self through a do-it-yourself retreat. Start by setting a goal: it could be to gain more clarity in your life, to develop your spirituality, or just to recharge before going back to your daily routine. Then work on clearing your mind by practicing sitting meditation: this means literally sitting still and focusing on your attention on something calming and repetitive, such as a mantra or your breath. You can also try journaling: jot down the thoughts that surface when your mind is uncluttered, or answer more structured questions aligned with your goal. For more details on designing your retreat, check out FN’s how-to guide.

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Go on a virtual Visita Iglesia.

In these days of YouTube and podcasting, the Catholic Church is not one to be left behind—or at least they’re doing their best to stay in tune with the times. Their attempt at an online Visita Iglesia—the traditional tour of seven churches while saying the stations of the cross—may be a bit lacking in terms of speed and style, but they certainly get points for trying. If the site leaves you looking for more, try visita-iglesia.com, a blog that features churches in Iloilo and the surrounding provinces.

Catch up on your favorite series and sitcoms.

Remember the Lenten seasons of your youth, with nothing but boring documentaries and—even worse—dead air on TV and the radio? Gone are the days! Today we have an infinite number of shows to watch on cable—and if we get bored with that, there are always DVDs. Catch up on the first five seasons of Lost (before it finally ends in May this year) and get up to speed with the goings on in Glee. Marathon viewings of your favorite series can be especially addictive, which means the days will fly by—it’ll be Easter before you know it.

home_during_lent_home_makeover.jpgMakeover your house.

If you’re stuck at home, you might as well make the most of it. Use the time to rearrange your furniture, organize your closet, clean your bathroom, toss out the unidentifiable stuff in the ref, and in general get your space in tip-top shape. April is the perfect time to take on home maintenance jobs, especially roof repair, which must be done before the rainy season starts (if it ever comes this year). If you’re feeling adventurous, paint your walls a different color or contemplate a completely new design scheme. To get inspired, browse through our Real Home Tour galleries—you might pick up a good idea or two.

Get organized!

Always complaining that you never have time to run all your errands and do all the things you need to? Your problem may not be that you don’t have enough time—maybe it’s structure that’s lacking! The trouble with getting organized while you’re buried in mountains of work and conflicting demands is that you won’t be able to focus and plan properly. Use the perspective provided by distance and enough time for yourself to plan out your life and work.

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List all your responsibilities, ongoing and future projects, and activities that you’ve committed to so you can get a better picture of what your life currently looks like. Honestly evaluate whether these commitments are still worth it, and if they’re in alignment with your stated life goals. Think through your daily routine and identify the tasks you can put into a checklist to bring some structure—and simplicity—into your life. Finally, set up a system for dealing with each aspect of your personal and work lives (for help designing your own system, hit the bookstores when they open on Saturday to pick up an organizing book that appeals to you; we recommend David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done). Use the rest of the weekend to get all your files and thoughts organized according to your system. This way you can hit the ground running when you go back to work next week.

(Photo source for mud mask: sxc.hu; Photo of girl and closet by Rene Mejia)

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