Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Buehler
I’m taking the day off. I really need one. Or two or three. I seem to reach this time of year and realize that while I may have traveled to several places on vacation, I didn’t really get true relaxing downtime. The best way for me to relax is by carving out uninterrupted unscheduled time in which I can do whatever appeals to me in the moment. That’s my definition of ahhhhhhh……
What’s yours? I bet it is easy to think of how you would spend a day off. You might think of all the things you need to accomplish, but instead, try to think of how you would spend a day off focusing entirely on your own self-care. Forget the “To Do” list. Imagine a day in which your relaxation and rejuvenation is the focus.
My Wise Aunt Bea told me she would occasionally take a “Bed Day”. She would call in sick to work, tell her children’s schools they wouldn’t be in, get up, shower, put on clean jammies and then get back into bed and spend the day there. Her children would play and she would laze about all day and order out for dinner. The next day, life would resume as usual.
I remember how horrified I was when I first heard this. How could an adult be so irresponsible? Not only was her calling in sick deceitful but she was also setting a bad example for her children. I had always been told that working all day long was what one should do. Resting meant that you weren’t productive. Never mind that you were exhausted – you were working hard and that is what mattered, right? Fortunately, for my own mental health, my views have loosened up significantly since then.
You see, I was not only horrified but I was also very intrigued by my Wise Aunt Bea’s philosophy. From her, I learned to embrace the idea that a responsible adult can take a day off from being responsible once in a while. It is actually healthy. In fact, someone who continues to trudge through daily life feeling depleted without addressing one’s needs is being irresponsible. You can’t give what you don’t have. So, if you don’t have any energy, you can’t be infusing any area of your life with energy.
Aunt Bea knew that a day off meant that she was taking care of herself. She was also setting a great example for her children by showing them that, hey, once in a while you just have to call a time out in order to regroup.
Even if you are able to set aside a day for yourself, you still may need to overcome mental barriers around the concept, just like I did. Yes, you can focus only on yourself and that isn’t selfish – it’s responsible. No, you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking a day for yourself when you have a million other things to do. A day off gives you the energy to be your best self the next day.
Perhaps you feel that you are taking a day off from such a competitive environment in which others are just waiting for you to let your guard down for one day so they can swoop in and undermine you. If that is the case, then you should get some distance from that environment for one day. When you return, you may have some good epiphanies to address that. Remaining in an environment that not only frowns on rest but seeks to attack it is not a healthy – nor responsible – environment for anyone.
You may need to take your day off away from your home, if you are going to be faced with everything that needs to be accomplished around the house. I find that the more I walk around the house, the more I am reminded of everything that needs to be cleaned, fixed, filed, fed, updated, driven somewhere or dropped off. Yes, this includes pets and humans. In order for me to focus on nothing, I usually need to be away from everything.
Speaking of humans, it is probably best to have your day off all by yourself. There is a reason why religious leaders go off by themselves to the mountaintop to find enlightenment. They need to hear themselves think – or meditate. They don’t bring company.
Personally, I’m going to work out on my day off to give my body an oxygen boost. Then I’m going to take a nap or two. I feel as if I get more rejuvenation in a thirty minute nap than I do in a full night of sleep. I’ll definitely watch a good movie and probably read my book. I’ll spend my day on the couch. And that’s about it. Heaven. What about you? What does your ideal day off look like?