take a day off

The World Won't Stop Turning-Take a Day Off!

I know someone who is being very brave today--she's taking a day off. Yup.

Might not sound like a big deal if you're comfortable doing it, but if you're the type who worries about your job/school more than your own personal life--it is a BIG deal. Like BIG, big.

This used to be me. Up until my second or third year of being an 8th grade teacher (GASP! yes, I was) I hardly ever took sick days. It wasn't bred into me--the rule growing up was, you didn't take a sick day unless you had a fever.

How many times in your life do you need a sick day even when you don't have a fever?

Unlike in grammar school, in the working world there is no prize for being the best. Sure, there are incentives like bonuses (depending on your field) or...I have never worked in the corporate world--what are the other incentives? I only ever worked non-profits or in schools and there weren't any incentives happening there. Therefore, I worked myself to the bone, often working long weekends or after hours and my salary only barely covered my living expenses.

Why? Why was I doing that?

Because I valued the opinion others held of me more than my own emotional, physical and mental health. I worried about being seen as irresponsible and lazy or that I would get in trouble somehow if I used a personal day or sick day and I wasn't actually in bed with the flu. I changed that mindset in my mid-20s and even moreso in the past few years once I realized that working so much was only getting me one award: Most Unlikely To Take Care of My Own Needs

When I was able to start putting myself first in this department, things improved in my life in general. Something simple like taking earned time for things like laundry, food shopping, some exercise--those essential basics of good health--is profoundly important and essential for balance. It is a radical act of self-love to say, "I deserve to slow down and take care of myself."

Imagine how refreshed you would feel and how productive you would be at your job or in school if you took a mid-week break to do things that just didn't happen during a crazy, hectic weekend or, even worse, if you were SICK over the weekend. Even stay-at-home parents--you work hard at what you do. How would your life improve if you hired a sitter for 2 hours while you got a massage or a pedicure (are those toes ready for summer, friends of all sexes and genders?!)

Take a freakin' day off. The World Won't Stop Turning if you do. I promise.

DAY(S) 5 and 4: TAKE A DAY OFF and LISTEN

Did you notice I didn't write yesterday? Well, good. That means you are interested in your health. That's good news. Maybe you like what I'm sharing. Maybe you were keeping tabs to make sure I stuck to my word.

Maybe you didn't even notice that I didn't write at all!!

Well, I didn't post yesterday. It's true. I missed a day of posting my 10 Tips to 2011. It's been my goal for some time to share some nuggets of joy and insight with the larger public--it's the rad work I do with my clients. Not everyone has a health coach. But everyone can benefit from more health and happiness in life. And so, here are my 10 Tips for your health.

(take a break and read the others-----come back and read this when you're finished. It's like me trying to watch Glee recently. Who is Finn dating now?!!!)

We have a few more days left before the end of 2010 and the opening of 2011 and you know what? I am really really excited. This day alone has been stellar both personally and professionally. I anticipate many amazing things headed my way in the coming weeks and months.

So my tip for Day 5 is: TAKE A DAY OFF.

It's really ok. You might have noticed that the world didn't stop spinning and hell didn't freeze over just because I didn't post an entry to my blog. I guarantee, with a stamp, that the same goes for your life. Were you one of the lucky people who had to go to work on Monday despite the Snowpocalypse? I was. And you know what? It was fun. It was cool to be working on a day that felt like zombies had taken over.

It was sooooo quiet outside...

But I know many people who had the day off and they were completely paralyzed. Staying home was so unfamiliar, it took a couple hours for them to acclimate and adjust to having "free time" that wasn't planned.

I remember being that person--I remember feeling like that. When I took a sick or personal day, it felt like I had lost my wallet or my keys. That "what's about to fall?" feeling was gross.

Glad I got over that!

I'm not suggesting you become a complete irresponsible jerk and call out and screw over the people depending on you (bosses, coworkers, customers, clients, etc.), but really--take a break once in a while. Don't do the thing you do everyday. Use personal time or sick time from work if you've earned it. Take a break and party with new friends instead of sitting at your desk and studying for endless hours/days. Find the balance of work and play and rest. You can't find it if you don't exercise that muscle--so try it!

The simple act of doing something outside your routine and taking time for yourself in the process will do wonders to reveal the ways you're limiting yourself. What lines have you drawn around your time and your health as a result of the choices you make? Shake it up by allowing yourself a day, an hour, a weekend to step away from pressure, stress and expectations.

What happens? What comes up? What doesn't happen that you feared might? What did you gain access to as a result?

Go ahead and try it. 2011 is your year. Go out and play.

Don't eat the yellow snow.