Memory Month Day 9: Can I Take a Day Off?

I don’t always have the luxury of taking a day off from studying, but when I do, I seize the opportunity immediately 🙂 . In all actuality, I didn’t get to take the entire day off, because I did some studying in the evening. However, the rest of my Sunday was free.

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It wasn’t worry-free though. You see, the thing about these “days off” is that they don’t feel like days off any longer. I can’t just throw all my responsibilities away for a day, because they keep coming back to remind me that they exist.

This is especially true because I am a student, but I’m assuming that it remains true for professionals as well. It seems that there’s always an email or a phone call you have to reply to or answer. The stress of certain projects won’t magically disappear because the calendar says it’s Sunday today. In fact, this very stress is more likely to make you want to work on that project, even if you’re supposed to rest.

But what if you do choose to rest, instead of work? It’s not like you’re committing some sort of crime if you decide to relax on a day when you don’t have to work. And yet, most of the time, you feel guilty for resting, when you know that the project or the responsibility is lurking behind somewhere.

So you can’t even relax completely, even when you are supposed to. That’s exactly the problem I wrestle with every weekend. That’s because a part of me is telling me to work, or study, and the other just wants a break.

In the light of the challenge I’m undertaking this month, I can’t help but wonder what is the toll our minds take for this constant work program we’re on. Though it is true that our brains need constant challenges to keep them working well, it is also true that they need a break from time to time.

Just a day or so, in which the pressure of work doesn’t get to us. But is that possible, because the more I look at it, the more I realize how hard it is.

As I said before, we can’t just take the stress out of our system in order to relax for a day. It is true that there are techniques to keep this stress of ours in check, such as meditating and exercising. The wonderful thing is that they work. The sad truth is that not completely.

Stress was developed in humans in order to motivate us to escape danger. The problem is that “danger” in today’s society no longer means the same as “danger” in the ancestral times. Yet, our brains deal with it the same way. When they perceive a stressor, they prepare to deal with it. But you see, in our times, the stressor may or may not be as short lived as it was in hunter-gatherer societies. Then, you saw a dangerous animal, you became stressed, and escaped. Then, you calmed down.

Today, a work-related project may provide enough stress for a few good months at least. Then, when it’s finally over, another project comes up. This results in our brains being under constant stress, something which they’re not really built to endure.As such, numerous mental diseases appear, making the stress worse.

Perhaps it is time we started teaching ourselves how to turn everything off and relax. Completely and entirely, at least for one day.

If you have any suggests for how to do that, I’d love to hear them!

/Larisa

  • Confused about what’s going on? Click here!
  • For the post that started this challenge, click here.
  • For yesterday’s entry, click here.
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