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The importance of a lazy day

Everyone needs a break now and then, and a little downtime can work wonders

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It’s after 10 on a Sunday morning, and the kids (our family of animal pets) are still sleeping, along with my other half. It’s all good. This is a traditional day of rest, after all, and even those with Type A personalities need to chill at least one day a week. Of course, I’ve been up for hours already, because I’m a morning person.

Every culture on the planet has at least one day of rest and recuperation. Many use that time to recharge spiritually by going to religious services, while others sleep in, watch TV or just give themselves the gift of a lazy day. And yes, there are those who find working up a sweat in the backyard to be quite relaxing, and on occasion I have recommended that exact activity.

Everyone needs a break now and then, and a little downtime can work wonders. It doesn’t really matter what the activity or inactivity is. The idea is to give your body, mind and heart a chance to relax and recharge. If you keep going at full speed every day, it can be really hard on you, both physically and mentally. We were not designed to be on round-the-clock, even if it’s what we think we should be doing.

Some people find it hard to take a day off, let alone a real vacation. If you are one of us, a little planned relaxation may be in order. Even if it seems a little counterintuitive, you need to learn how to take a break, or you might find yourself having one forced on you. I have seen too many people work themselves into an early grave because they were too driven, or too scared, to take a break.

All right, so you’re not a kick back kind of person, and you’d rather do an ironman race than stop and smell the roses (or plant some). That’s fine. As long as you are also doing something that relaxes you. Active breaks from your routine will restore the energy you need to continue taking on the world.

It doesn’t matter what form your idle time takes, as long as it’s not destructive. You owe yourself the gift of a deep breath and a view of the long sunset. And if you tell yourself that you’re being unproductive, remember that you can’t function well if you’ve exhausted all your resources by never stopping to take a rest.

Again, it doesn’t matter when you do it. But make it a part of your routine. Pick whatever day and time works best for you, and stick to it. By committing to take some time for yourself and for those you love, you are giving yourself and your family a gift.

Think about this and talk it over with your clan. The idea here is that by giving ourselves a break and just enjoying a day off, we can make our lives better and actually create greater good in our world than if we are constantly trying to get things done.

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of 8 books, and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with nearly 35 million readers. He is available for in-person & video consults worldwide; reach him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com

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