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It’s Friday, give yourself a break

In all honesty, you should give yourself a break each and everyday. You don’t have to earn it, just take it. Say what? In my opinion, a large number of North Americans (and other nationalities around the world) have this notion that we need to “earn” our breaks and vacation time. Do we? I’m not sure.

If if I am being honest, I operate the same way. My relaxation time feels so much better if it has been an arduous journey to get there. For example, I will feel more gratitude for my glass of wine and dinner tonight if it’s been a rough day at work. Honestly, I think this way of thinking is a little twisted, but at the same time I don’t only because it’s a cultural norm.

I was recently re-watching Eat. Pray. Love. I actually liked it more the second time around. There’s a line said by one of Julia Roberts (J.R.’s) friends in Italy that has always resonated with me and this time, I thought I would blog about it.

J.R. is saying that she feels guilty as she has only learned a small amount of Italian since arriving. He replies (and I’m paraphrasing here) that she feels guilty because she is American, that Americans know entertainment, but they don’t know pleasure. He states (and I am not paraphrasing here) “you Americans, you work too hard, you get burned out and then you come home and spend the whole weekend in you pajamas in front of the T.V…you don’t know pleasure. You have to be told that you’ve earned it. You see a commercial saying it’s Miller Time and you say to yourself, ‘That’s right, now I’m going to buy a six pack’…An Italian doesn’t need to be told. An Italian walks by a sign that says ‘You deserve a break’ and the Italian says, ‘Yes, I know'”.

I think the Italian’s synopsis of how North Americans operate is quite succinct and unfortunately true. I’m not discounting the fact that this type of thinking doesn’t make for productive workers, a good economy (usually), and well-operated country (usually). There are some definite pros to this type of thinking. And if you’ve ever been to Italy, you will notice a very different approach to work and the individual work ethic…and the speed at which construction projects get done. It’s different and not necessarily better, but I do think there is some validity to what J.R.’s friend had to say.

I think we do need to take more time to reward ourselves during the week. Our weekdays compose the majority of the week. Our weekends are just two days and they flash by in an instant. Why not try to find some pleasure during the week? Why not enjoy a nice dinner out? Why not have a glass of wine or a gelato (or ice cream)? Why not take a long stroll instead of doing an intense workout at the dull and dreary gym? If you want to do something on a weeknight, why not? I am sure, like me, you can come up with a million excuses, but I implore you to stop. Get out there and start enjoying.

Don’t wait for a commercial, or your boss, or your inner “good / bad” voice to tell you deserve a break or not. If you want one, take one. If you can’t at that exact moment because work needs to get done, plan for one later in the day. Be responsible in your breaks (don’t overdo it), but be kind to yourself.

Happy weekend and future weeknights to come!





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