Before moving back to Omaha a few years ago, we lived for nine years in Warwick, a small town in New York’s Hudson Valley. Back in the day, we got a lot of snowstorms there (this still seems to be case, judging from the general trend of my Warwick friends’ Facebook posts), and our schools called a lot of snow days. Happily, because I worked as a Clinical Social Worker for the public schools, I got to take the snow days right along with my children.
Snow days are outstanding for three main reasons:
- Snow days are unexpected. We never plan them, and so have less of an opportunity to fill them with productive tasks. Snow days outsmart our OCD and workaholic tendencies.
- Snow days are completely kosher. Wait. Let me get this straight, Mr. Superintendent. You’re calling to give me permission – no, a directive – to skip work? And you’ll even PAY ME FOR IT? Sweet!
- Snow days are delightfully limiting. Although there were some exceptions, our Warwick snow days were usually called only when the weather was so severe that you couldn’t, or shouldn’t, drive in it.
Sure, there was a bit of shoveling to do. But aside from that task, which we usually completed by mid-morning, our two main choices for the day were to either stay in and watch movies or stay in and catch up on our reading, both of which we usually did in our PJs.
Of course, we could just as easily have decided to catch up on some chores, organize our closets or work ahead on our homework. But we didn’t. The phrase “snow day” somehow inspired in us a luxurious laziness, a complete commitment to unproductivity.
In fact, as the sole proprietor of a private psychotherapy practice, I work for myself, and my boss is a grinch about taking time off. (In my boss’s defense, one of the less-appealing trade-offs of owning a small business is that if you don’t go into work, you generally don’t get paid.)
Still, I took a snow day on Wednesday. Because I need snow days now just as much as I needed them then. I need them to rest, to regroup, to think and to dream. I need them because the laziness in which I feel compelled to luxuriate on a snow day helps me operate at my best on all the other days.
On this recent Wednesday snow day, I stayed in my PJs even longer than usual (regular OOMM followers know that my writing habit already keeps me in my PJs longer than is perhaps seemly). I fiddled around on Facebook and YouTube. I read some. I napped some. I did a crossword puzzle. I ate snacks.
And it was really, really good.
Because time off is – at its core – really, really good! It’s especially good for us Type-A, OCD, workaholic models. Common sense tells us this, of course, but lots of research also confirms it.
So. Of course I advise you to surprise yourself with an unexpected snow day this month. Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission. Don’t even wait for a snowstorm (especially if you live in Florida or Arizona or someplace like that). Just take a snow day already.
And please, whatever you do, don’t fill the day with productive tasks. Engage your inner snow day child. Sit in your PJs all day, reading and watching movies. Commit to being unproductive. Luxuriate in the laziness. Your family will thank you. Your coworkers will thank you. You will thank you.
And it will be really, really good.
What about you? When was your last snow day? What did you do during the day? Share your experience below so the rest of us can get some good ideas!