Somewhere in the past few decades, a day off became more about catching up, running errands, and planning for the next week than about actually enjoying the day. You probably do one or more of the following on your day off.
- Grocery shopping
- Meet friends for brunch
- Wash Car
- Go to the movies
- Catch up on work
- Catch up on TV
- Plan ahead
Some of those things are productive, fun, and even necessary, but when does your body, mind and soul get to rest? The one time we actually take a day off is when we are sick. And why are we sick? Because we got rundown, tired, and infected. Yuck.
In November, Ali Edwards mentioned that she was almost finished reading the book, Sabbath, and wished she could start it again. That one little sentence was a great review, and I wanted to check it out. When I saw the tag line, finding rest, renewal and delight in our busy lives, I knew Amazon had just made a sale. I am not even close to finished and already want to re-read it. This books speaks to me and inspired this post.
3 Reasons to really take a day off…
- You deserve it
- You need it
- You will be better because of it
Wayne Muller, the author of Sabbath points out that while Sabbath may be a holy day for some, it can be anything that provides a visceral experience of life giving nourishment and rest. He suggests that Sabbath time can be a refuge from our modern life which is designed to seduce our attention. Between hundreds of TV channels, calendar alerts, email, billboards and other cries for our attention, it’s no wonder that we often feel overwhelmed with day to day life, and then some sense of guilt for wanting to retreat.
Did you know that stores used to be closed on Sunday once upon a time? They still are in parts of Europe. I know this because on my last day in Copenhagen, many years ago, I went back to the boutique that carried the boots that I didn’t think I could leave the country without, and all I found was a locked door. It was Sunday. While I could have been experiencing life giving nourishment and rest, I had my nose pressed to a closed store window, moaning, “no, no, this can’t be happening, maybe they open at noon.”
Fast forward several years and several pairs of sub-par boots, and what I want more than anything is a visceral experience of life giving nourishment and rest. If you want that too, then follow the simple instructions below and rest, renew and delight.
The 10 step plan to really take a day off
- Schedule your day off. Put it in your calender and make it important.
- Tell the world. Call your friends, text your colleagues, tweet the news that you have scheduled a day off and won’t be available.
- Take a Sabbath eve. On the night before your planned day off, skip the heavy meal and alcohol. Plan to wake up feeling peaceful and refreshed.
- Make a Sabbath box. This was a lovely suggestion from the book, Sabbath. Put anything in the box that you don’t want to use during your day off. I think cell phone, and computer will top the list, but there may be other things. Also include things left undone, and worries by writing them on a piece of paper and placing it in the box.
- Time out. Whenever I go on vacation, the thing I love most is not being aware of what time it is and not caring. If you can afford this luxury, turn off your clocks and don’t worry about what time it is. Eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty and sleep when you’re tired.
- Leave the “shoulds” in the Sabbath box. If you are really going to take a day off, don’t worry about what you should or should not be doing. If you want to take three naps, take three naps. Lunch in bed? Why not?
- Rest in your own way.
- Renew in your own way.
- Delight in your own way.
- Promise you won’t spend the day after making up for your day off.
If you can’t decide how you want to spend your day, I highly recommend this suggestion from Sabbath, and plan to put it to the test myself.
“When you wake up, don’t get up. Stay in bed. Give yourself time to review your dreams. Notice how it feels to be in your body this morning. Watch how the light is coming in your room today, read a little, daydream a little, wonder about breakfast.” One couple mentioned in the book has a ritual of champagne and Scrabble in bed on their Sabbath mornings.
“The fruitful uselessness of rest, play, and delight can begin on a Sabbath morning. Wake up, but do not get up. Do something delightful. Use your imagination, be frivolous, be daring. Invent rituals. Do nothing of significance. Cultivate expertise in Slotha Yoga.” – Wayne Muller
Are you ready to commit to taking care of yourself and really take a day off? If so, save the date and include it in your comment below.