Labor Day is a perfect reminder that in order to celebrate the work and achievement we have had in the past year, we need a break to reflect. Technology and the strive to always do more (and better than anyone else); can develop a bad habit of never disconnecting from our work. Working all the time may lead us to burnout and even less creativity. As Whitney Johnson says “Only after a break can you have a breakthrough”.
After looking at over 50 studies, journal articles, or books on workaholism, researchers classified workaholics as those who:
- Work beyond what is reasonably expected.
- Give up family, social, and recreational activities persistently for work.
- Think about work all the time.
Numerous workaholics will become over stressed, anxious, and even have health problems; although not all do. Some workaholics seem to find a way to balance their lives. We should all strive to be productive in our work, but not move over to the dark-side of the workaholic. Whether it is Labor Day itself, a weekend, or vacation day we all need to recharge our batteries. Our brain needs to shut down, we need adequate sleep, and we need a little quiet time. If you have been focusing on a big project at work or home, you may need a break to clear your mind and get ready for the next project. Here are some “Un-Labor Day” ideas to help you recharge your batteries:
- Actually use your holidays, vacation days, sick days, and weekends as recreation or relaxation.
- Turn off the TV, computer, or tablet and listen to your favorite music.
- Journal (by actually writing down, not on your phone) things you have to be thankful for.
- Meditate or do yoga.
- Just relax in a hammock, on the beach, or on a blanket under the stars.
- Take a drive on a back road with a view – may it be the waterfront, mountains, or farm fields.
- Turn technology off for the day. If your work email goes to your phone, cut back on the times you look at it after work or on the weekend. Keep count of the times you normally check email per day and see if you can’t go to once or twice a day (maybe eventually not at all on the weekend). To break this habit you may need to turn your alerts off.
- Fix a favorite recipe and share it with your friends, family, or neighbors.
- Sign up for a new class, not one related to work, but a hobby you want to learn or fitness. Actually put the schedule on your calendar and phone and say “I have class then, I can’t attend that meeting tomorrow night” rather than adding on to your already busy day.
What can you do to “Un-Labor” your day? If you ask my family and friends, they will tell you I work too much and need to heed the advice and take a break to recharge my batteries too.
Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.
Reviewers: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County and Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County.