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Labor Day — Letting Yourself Have Time Off

Well, today is Labor Day. In the spirit of Labor Day, I’ve let myself have some time off the blog over the last few days. It compensates, in a way, for my having to go to work this morning, as well as Saturday (hospital job…they still have patients!). I didn’t exactly let myself have the day off yesterday because I redesigned my consulting site. But that was more for kicks than anything.

I’ve found that letting myself have time off isn’t easy (hence the 5 hours of site design). Whether you’re a freelancer or have a 9 to 5 job, you’ve probably got a long to-do list that’s stressing you out. There are always things you could be doing.

It’s not all bad, leisure time can be very boring if you do nothing the entire time. It’s great to have projects you can whip out and work on. Most of us feel fulfilled that way.

But it’s not as fulfilling if you don’t “frame” it as something enjoyable you’re doing. This means not putting undue pressure on yourself, letting yourself be in the moment, doing it because you enjoy it.

When we were on vacation last month, we climbed the smallest Sleeping Bear Dune (vs. the bigger ones which you’re not supposed to climb). It’s a long way up. For us, it was kinda fun. Struggling against the sand, being silly, egging each other on. (Running down at breakneck speed!)

We ran across a father reading his son a character lecture. The son was feeling tired…there was sun, sand, and very very sharp dune incline. Instead of making it a fun family activity, the father was trying to convince his son that his character was at stake if he gave up. Micah later said, “Way to turn vacation into boot camp.”

We treat ourselves in ways we wouldn’t allow others to treat us.

The thing is, we probably work ourselves even harder than that father did. It’s scary to take time off if you’re a blogger or freelancer. It’s hard to be compassionate with yourself and say “You really should have a break!” We worry that we’ll lose all our readers, or that we’ll be broke and living on the streets if we take even a day off.

It doesn’t have to be on Labor Day. If you’re not in the US, you probably had your Labour Day anyway. But if you’re working today at least remember to be kind to yourself.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs. Nathan September 1, 2008 at 7:59 pm

Hi Mrs. Micah,

I’ve got a suggestion for a post – we’ve recently decided we need to cut down our grocery bill each month (this month was over $400 – yikes!- although that includes all kinds of non-grocery items like a new coffee thermos and cooler). I wonder if others might be interested in the same thing or have advice on how to spend less on groceries without making major sacrifices in quality of life. I’ll let you know if we succeed and how we did it.

Happy labor day!

Dad September 1, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Micah’s comment on “way to turn a vacation into boot camp” reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes and Calvin’s father sometimes.

No More Spending September 2, 2008 at 1:27 am

oops, I gave you work today! 🙂

mrsmicah September 2, 2008 at 9:38 am

@No More Spending. That’s ok! I gave myself more time off leading up to Labor Day. Besides, it was fun. 😉

Kelly from Almost Frugal September 2, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Time off? Huh? What’s that?

Sara at On Simplicity September 3, 2008 at 11:48 pm

Thanks for this. It’s exactly what I needed to hear. You have no idea what a big favor you just did a whole lot of us overworked go-getters!

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