How Important is a Day Off?

When was the last time you had a whole day set aside just for you?
Photo by Deanna Tan

When was the last time you took a proper day off? A day where nothing in your calendar was a "should" or a "have to", and instead your day was full of "want" and "sound lovely"?

To answer this question, I am trying to think back to the last time I was on vacation, and even then, I'm not sure if my schedule was obligation-free for an entire day. Oftentimes, this is my fault. I spread out my fun and my work across my days off making every day a little of both and giving myself little time for any kind of prolonged rest in the meantime.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook last weekend about the beauty of Sundays off--of proving to yourself once a week that you can rest and the world will keep turning.

The first thing that came to mind was, "yes, that sounds amazing." The second thing? "The world might keep turning, but then when would I buy groceries? Do I just live in a dirty house? It's not the end of the world, but it puts a lot of pressure on every other day."  Then I started to wonder about my friends who have kids and how a day free of obligations can possibly work when you are eternally obligated to a young human's ability to thrive.

Do you redefine obligation? Do you redefine rest?

From what I understand from observation, parenthood is basically that: a lifelong redefinition of both obligation and rest. Yes, your kids are an exhausting obligation and non-stop work, but they are also a source of true joy and rejuvenation (maybe not rest, but something life-giving).

Along the same lines (and yet totally different), for me, is something like cleaning. I can't say that I love to clean, but I can certainly say that I get a lot of satisfaction out of it. Getting simple, productive tasks like cleaning done energizes me.

Can I really redefine a day free of obligation to include the day I spent cleaning out my closet? Is that a step too far? Or is it okay if I feel okay about it?

Another question: how much does it actually matter? Is having a whole day free of obligation and work really that important? (The answer is probably yes and I just need to be more diligent about planning my life so that I take care of obligations before Sunday--or whatever day off works. But right at this moment, my inclination is to take the easy way out and dismiss the concept entirely.)

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