Happy Labor Day – Learning How to Take a Day Off
We want to wish everyone a happy Labor Day weekend. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. The purpose of the day was to recognize the workers of America and their contribution to the success and prosperity of our country. This Labor Day we are especially thankful for all the doctors, nurses, and many other frontline workers who have worked tirelessly for the past year and a half. Many will not get to take this weekend off. If you can, please take a minute and thank a frontline worker you know.
Labor Day was created to honor the worker, but it also is a symbol of taking time to rest. Unfortunately, those who often are wired to work the hardest, struggle to know how to effectively take a rest. The same concept can be applied to our finances. Those who do a great job of saving, living within their means, planning for the future, often have trouble knowing when it is ok to spend money on a vacation. Here are two simple tips for learning how to “take a day off.”
Make a Plan – You are probably thinking: “Wait, I thought you were going to tell us how to take a day off?” I am, but that is why it is so important to plan for it. Just like you will never meet your financial goals without a plan, you will fail to take a day off if you do not plan for it. I don’t mean you will fail to actually not go into work. Almost everyone takes two days off each week, but without some intentionality it is often hard to completely disconnect from work and enjoy real rest. If you prefer long vacations, then plan these out at the beginning of the year. This will allow you to budget for your trips and will make you commit to the time off. You can also turn your weekends into mini vacations. Laying around on the couch does not give your brain the same sense of relaxation as driving your kids to the cool museum you have not been to yet or scheduling a weekend trip with your spouse (without kids!). Whatever your preferred type of relaxation is, you need to plan for it!
Beware of Technology – A sure fire way to never feel relaxed is to always have your phone on you. Think you need to take an awesome Instagram picture of the beach you are on? Don’t! The research is very clear on the effects of social media on our mental health. If you have not watched The Social Experiment on Netflix, I highly recommend it. Social media, work emails, even texts from friends can disrupt our attempts to disengage from the day to day and truly relax. If you feel like stopping cold turkey is too much, I suggest you set times of day you will not look at your phone. Especially during planned vacation or days off. Schedule technology free times of the day and turn the sound off. Maybe it is just 2 hours to start. If you are used to having your phone on you at all times (like me!) this will be difficult at first. We have to retrain our brains to be ok not checking our phone every five minutes.
Just start with these two tips. Learning to relax is like any new habit. You will not get it perfect the first time, it is much more important that you start. It doesn’t matter if you fail, just try! We hope these types are helpful and you all have a wonderful Labor Day!