Posts Tagged ‘Labor Day’

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: Woman Relaxing in Rocking Chair

  • 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.

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“What is Labor Day for anyway?” Just a day off work and school? An official end to summer? A patriotic holiday for Americans? A chance to eat great food with my friends and family? The signal to put your white pants and shoes away until next Memorial Day? According to the United States Department of Labor, “Labor Day is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers”. It is a “tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our  country”  (http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/laborday.htm).

Labor or Labour Day is celebrated in a number of countries including: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Syria, Germany and others. In the United States it is the first Monday of September, but other countries vary as to their day of celebration. In several of these countries Labour Day Parades have been around as far back as the mid 1800’s. In the USA  we have celebrated it since 1882, with a Central Labor Union celebration in New York City. The celebration of labor spread to other States quickly and in 1894 Congress passed an act making it officially the first Monday of September each year.

In most countries labor unions and their workers were heavily involved in the creation of Labor or Labour Day with some using the holiday to celebrate the 8 hour, 5 day a week work week. Most of us today are used to a work week similar to that – but many of our ancestors used to work 6 days a week for 10 to 12 hours per day. While the National Sleep Foundation states that the average American worker currently works 46 hours a week – it is much better than that 60 hour or more work week. A review of hours worked and illness conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found  that overtime work is associated with an increase in injuries and mortality, and more illnesses. So take advantage of your Labor Day and do something you enjoy – picnic, hike, enjoy some end of summer produce – and spend it with the people you care about. When you have the opportunity – encourage others to get their work done during regular work hours and avoid large amounts of overtime – which may be hazardous to our health.


United States  Department of Labor – http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/laborday.htm

Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention – http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-143/pdfs/2004-143.pdf

Author: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and  Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension.

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