It’s the day that kicks off summer: Memorial Day.

We imagine grilling out, sleeping in, and maybe heading to the pool. While all that is well and good, they are not the only things we can participate in on this day off. Check out our five suggestions for making Memorial Day a great day.

Spend the day with family. This one is practically a given. Still, many people spend all their time with their faces stuck to a mobile device or flipping through channels while eating lunch. Have lunch together! Go to a pool or grill out as a group. This day is a great time to reconnect with your family.

Do some charity. Make it a point to do at least one kind act today for a neighbor, friend or charitable organization. Maybe it’s donating clothes or toys. The elderly person across the street might need their lawn cut. Take a look around to see whose day you can brighten.

Set goals. With a day off, you can do some dreaming and planning. Make a commitment to spend a little time today by yourself, thinking about some goal you want to accomplish in a certain time frame (say, by the end of 2013) and the steps you’ll put in place to make it happen. If you are married, bring your spouse in on it and work on something together.

Serve those in the service. Today is a great day to give back to those who sacrifice for us. If someone in the Armed Forces lives near you, invite them over for lunch at your home or offer to help them with some project they are working on. If the person is deployed, do something for their family. You might even go to a VA center to see if there is anything they need that you can provide.

Start exercising. Didn’t expect this one, did ya? Well, if you have the entire day off from your job, it’s easier to fit some fitness into your schedule. If you get a workout or a treadmill run (or even a walk around the block) under your belt, it can give you some momentum heading into the summer and give you a better sense of how long an exercise routine takes, which makes it easier to do again before or after work.

Remember, a lot of people paid a big price for this day, and we need to honor it. Make the best use of this day.

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