9 rules for taking a day off

We are a culture of busy. One thing we don't do well is stop.

Here are the rules for taking a day off (and to be clear, you need to do that sometimes):

1. No email. If you have to turn off notifications on your phone or (gasp!) turn your phone off and stick it in a drawer for the day, do so, but you may not check your email. Most people can manage to not call into the office and can hit the "Ignore" or "Decline" button when they get a call from the office, but a lot of us will check our email as a way to stay informed as to what we're going into when we return. Don't.

2. No alarm. One of the reasons you're taking the day off is because you need to rest. If that means sleeping an extra two, three or six hours, let it happen. If the dog or smoke detector or a meteor crashing into your house wakes you up, deal with it, but don't feel bad about getting some zees.

3. Move naturally. Get some walking in. If you enjoy running and it doesn't make you feel like you got hit by a bulldozer, go ahead and do it. Listen to some music while you do it. Listen to an audiobook. Listen to the air. Tune out. Notice your neighborhood. Stop the go go go.

4. Learn something unrelated to your job. Read about someone you find interesting (this, for example, is something I'm working on here and there). Learn how a snowblower works. Take something apart. Build something, even if it comes out badly.

5. Break an eating habit. It doesn't matter what your eating habits are, change them up for a day. That might have something to do with the timing of your food or the type of foods you eat. Try something you've never had before. I've been cooking a lot with Belgian endive lately. I like it a lot. Have you had it?

6. Indulge. This doesn't have to be food-related. If Mumford & Sons is a guilty pleasure, listen all you want. If you love baseball diamonds, go to a Little League park and run the bases.

7. Challenge yourself. This should be a personal challenge. Take a cold shower. Do a crossword puzzle. Hug a porcupine. Catch a frog. Climb a wall. Break a glass. Whatever it is, do something that's personal growth.

8. Breathe. Take at least a few minutes to listen to yourself breathe. No radios, no TV, no outside distractions. Just sit down and breathe deeply, just to remember what it feels like.

9. Love. Use your day off as a day to remember what love feels like. It doesn't matter if that love is for another human, an animal, yourself or an antique car. Use that love to help with the recovery part of your day off.

Add yours.

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09/08/2012

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