The Trap of Time Off

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Enjoying the Moment

timetrap
I’ve come to believe that the “extra” day off is a trap. Okay, maybe a trap is a bit too harsh. So not a trap per say but definitely deceptive.

This past weekend, I was set to have a three day weekend. Here in Alberta Canada, we call it the Family Day weekend which means that nearly everyone has that extra day off. As it coincides with Teacher’s Convention, school aged kids actually get a five day weekend. Of course, with younger ones that stay home with a parent every day is family day (not in the day off sense but in spending time together).

Anyways, in using the “time off”, there are a few choices. First you can celebrate the day with family togetherness activities as the day was intentioned. Given that the school aged kids have had two extra days off, they are probably pretty tired of togetherness. Perhaps the adults are too. Besides, any outside activities tend to be filled with people trying to use the day to the best potential. Everything is crowded and noisy and the lines are long. With little ones, that equals stress and a not so positive memory.

The alternative is to take the “extra” day to rest and recharge. Being as the rest of the week, and probably even the rest of the weekend, was probably filled with activity and chaos, taking a day to recharge sounds great. Just imagine a full day with nothing to do. If only things worked that way.

Of course, if you have kids, there are no days off. Younger kids need care and attention. Older kids come with drama that never seems to take a holiday. In fact, often holidays come with their own expectations (read potential for emotional explosions).

Even without kids (or tag-teaming), I wonder if it’s really possible to relax in a single day. Most people spend the first few days of an extended vacation getting work and home duties out of their heads. Personally, I don’t think anyone really relaxes for the first week, if at all. So fully relaxing in a single day seems unlikely. Maybe the best thing to do is just vegetate or pursue a hobby.

To be truthful, I tend to use the “extra” day to catch up. I know a lot of people end up doing this. The reality is that with active full days, it’s hard to get everything done. It’s impossible to be all things to everyone. Inevitably, things fall through the cracks. So, on our days off, we madly clean, organize, and try to get our life on track.

It’s no wonder that the workday comes too soon. That instead of feeling relaxed and refreshed, we feel twice as tired after a long weekend. It’s kind of disheartening. Yes, we may have crossed off a few things on our to do list. Unfortunately, most of those same tasks will again be demanding attention on the next day off.

Perhaps, that’s the trap. We run around all week trying to get as much done as possible. We look forward to weekends and “extra” days off, so that we can recharge. Then, we end up spending that time catching up on all the tasks we couldn’t fit in during the rest of the week. Is it any wonder why we are a stressed out society that requires stimulants like caffeine and sugar to keep us going?

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Tami Brady

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