In Defense of Rest

I knew it was coming. I knew online school would lead to the end of the snow day. New York schools have no announced that there will be no snow days. Snow days will now be remote learning days. I assume other school systems will do the same. I’ve written multiple times about snow days and why they were important to me. The main reason I loved a snow day was that it gave me permission to rest. No work, No school. Time to relax and watch the snow coverage on TV and drink coffee until the kids woke up and wanted to play in the snow. Now everyone does remote work instead. There is no time off because we hate the idea of rest.

Thee was an editorial in the Washington Post recently about how people were looking forward to getting their vaccine because the side effects would give them the opportunity to take time off. People are looking forward to a shot’s side effects so they can rest. That is really messed up. It’s not surprising, though. Americans have trouble with rest. We don’t use our vacation time we have earned. We don’t take sick days when we need them. The concept of taking a mental health day seems wrong. Whenever I took a sick day at my old job my boss made sure to bring it up a lot so that I knew that she remembered the time I was a slacker. When I would take a long vacation she would be sure to bring it up in front of her boss to try to make me look bad for not working constantly. She would brag about never taking a vacation. It was a lie, but she thought the idea that she didn’t use her earned vacation made her look good. I feel like this attitude is prevalent in America,

Even outside of work we seem to be unable to rest. We fill our kids off school hours with scheduled activities. We don’t give them time to just have unstructured fun. We fill our off hours with to-do lists and errands. There is always something that needs to be done and if you don’t do it you are lazy and wasting time. When I left my job one of the things my wife was concerned about was me spending too much time “doing nothing” and I guess being depressed because I wasn’t busy enough. We are so ingrained with the idea that rest is bad that some people struggle with retirement because they can’t handle not being busy all the time. I struggle with it now that I have a lot of hours to fill. but I struggle more with being afraid people are judging me than with the actual resting part. I feel guilty when I spend time reading my book during the day. We just aren’t programmed to rest in this country.

It needs to stop. Let the kids keep their snow days. Stop advocating for year round school. Let the kids keep their lazy summer days. Stop scheduling every off school hour. Encourage unstructured time. Use your vacation time for actual vacations not to make appointments during work hours. Go on trips. Spend time at home not doing chores. Take time off from everything. We don’t need to fill every hour of our days with stuff. We need to learn to give ourselves permission to rest.

16 thoughts on “In Defense of Rest

  1. Yes, yes, yes. Ten thousand times, yes. I remember when this “schedule your kid’s every waking moment” thing started. I had people judging me left and right because I wouldn’t do it. I AM very guilty of previously not using vacation time and working way more hours than I am paid to do. I am (and have been) trying to break that nasty habit. Some weeks I am successful, some not. Any progress is better than the 60+ hours that used to be routine, right?

    I hope snow days will persist in some form. It makes me sad that they are taking them away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Progress is good. My kids played sports and did dance and stuff, but only what they asked to do and then they spent time riding their bikes and hanging out with friends. Luckily, I never felt judged.
      I think remote work has make people feel the need to be on the clock even more than before.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My kids had no interest in organized activities. If they had wanted to, I would have arranged it but I caught flak for not making them be involved.

        I found that working from home meant I was always working, lol. I have to be very diligent to only be logged on and engaged during business hours. It was as if I had to train my brain to understand it was still work even if I was in my home in my PJs and that I needed to have defined hours of activity.

        I do enjoy the flexibility…I literally just WFH Monday and Tuesday to be able to help the daughter with the baby after she had a minor surgical procedure. Since there is no one that can cover for me, it keeps the work from piling up while I am away.

        It also allowed me to stay at home for a month in October when the baby was born. My boss jumped at the chance to have me available and working rather than just being out for four weeks.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m an advocate for year round school. I think the first and last months are wasted. Now, I do think the breaks should be done differently. I think the month of either July or august should be off. I think December should be off. And I think we get rid of the puddly day off here and there…make it a week off at say, Martin Luther king day…I think restructuring helps everyone. This way, kids get a good rest, but not so long that they forget

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I advocate for two solid months off, but then I think a week here or there is fine. I think more than a week makes people forget.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember being in Europe and it was not unusual for the French to take a month off and be given off a month from work. That is nice. Any vaccine can make you tired and cranky for a few days. It is nice that some employers might give time off. Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I never enrolled my kids in summer camps when they were growing up. Their school life and athletic lives were so structured that I wanted them to have an unstructured summer. The positive of that was they were bored by the end of summer and wanted the structure back. This concept of work being your identity is something I learned when I first came to this country. When introduced to someone, one of the first questions that I was asked was what do I do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always enjoyed when sports and dance was off for the summer and we had no commitments.
      I hate that our identity is so wrapped up in our jobs. I guess now I have no identity


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