Happy Labor Day, folks! I hope this national holiday actually signifies a day off for you. In fact, despite the purpose and history of this holiday, I’m finding that advertisers and industries have the exact opposite goals in mind; my email inbox this morning had me scrolling through emails such as:
This is huge. 40% off blowout sale!
Hurry! 7 Labor Day deals end today!
This is it! Last day of summer blowout sales.
The apparent attitude among our friends in the sales sector is: if you’re not working, then you should be shopping. After all, why not blow the fruit of your hard labor on a brand new shiny toy?
Work isn’t all bad. I don’t know about you, but I actually love to work. Good work helps us develop our minds and skills; it makes us team players; it (hopefully) contributes to a larger goal that is important to us. We learn by working.
But when I was in college, I did not have a particularly strong sense of what it meant to rest. Many of my extracurricular pursuits had me simply working in another capacity– running meetings, delegating tasks, working on publicity, or actually making money.
I’ve learned that resting well is a skill that needs to be cultivated, just as much as working well. And, if you’re subscribed to as many promotional lists as I am, your inbox is likely not telling you to actually rest today, or on any day off. Instead, we’re encouraged to cash in on a great deal– in a competitive, beat-the-deadline, FOMO kind of way. The last thing I need from a day off of good, hard work is someone telling me that I need to hurry. No, thanks.
So how do we go about resting properly? How do we find peace on days off? Is it possible to rest well without feeling left out?
We live in Pasadena, California, which means we are ten minutes away from one of the most beautiful botanical gardens I have ever been to– the Huntington. There are acres of gorgeous cultivated gardens, huge trees with benches beneath, and plenty of shade in which to hide from the sun.
But you don’t need to live near something like this to enjoy a day off— though I’ll admit it’s absolutely wonderful. Perhaps your place of non-commercial relaxation is reading at a cafe or picnicking in a park. Perhaps it’s your back porch with a glass of lemonade or an empty canvas and some paints. It could also be a quiet beach, a scenic hike or an art museum.
And what can we do to relax? We can breathe, for one. We can chat, laugh, write, draw, eat, sleep, create. We can wander aimlessly in a beautiful place. The point is to toss aside the need to be productive– to catch a sale or get “it” before it’s gone– and simply focus on being.
So whether your day off is today or not for several months, promise yourself to spend it well. Unplug, tune out, put the wallet away and don’t worry– you’re not missing out on anything.