One day off per week!

I never knew that I would some day share anything that sounds like a trade union’ s slogan. Well that day has come.

EVERYBODY complains about the pace of life being too fast but nobody does anything about it.

Except for entrepreneurs, nobody works seven days a week. And even entrepreneurs should have the self-discipline to force one day off a week in their calendar if they don’t want to lose several years of their life in the process.

My beloved husband has well understood the concept except that he has divided his day off so it is equally spread on three days.  As a result he does not have any day off per se.

Let’s focus on per se one second.

The whole concept of a day off here in California is interesting: it is the day one does not go to work or school. The funny thing is that weekends are so filled with activities that they are busier than weekdays.

Those with children are running from event, to games, with the idea that the more the better. And those without kids, feel compelled to do something, active, outside of their home…and fun…hopefully.

I might be giving into the preconceived ideas Americans already have about the French, but I will take the risk: a day off, guys, is a day….OFF.

It is OFF anything that is not you and your inner circle.

And a day is 24h.

I invite you to watch the Ted talk recommended to me by my husband on how to live to be 100 years. You will be amazed by what you hear.

If you believe the studies mentioned in that Ted Talk, sticking to the twenty-year old lifestyle no matter what, will make us die sooner rather than later.

I don’t suggest yet that we will all go to church on Sunday, or the synagogue on Saturday, according to what is closer to ones’ home, to help fight of the social pressure that distracts you from your day off. But it might be the easiest way to introduce a day off in your schedule. Although I am not Jewish I am seriously considering adopting Shabbat to stop any questioning of my precious day off.

We can’t expect to sustain the unsustainable. Here, it feels like people spend their life on a treadmill that never runs out of battery.

Why is it so difficult to apply to us what seems logical for any electronic or mechanic thing we have? Even our desktop gets turned of regularly, and if it does not we endure painful minutes of updates to have it run smoothly again. We all know that, don’t we?

We, human beings are cyclical: our energy is not linear. And if you are not totally disconnected with yourself you feel the need to stop. Life is so demanding though, that the first signs of fatigue are very often overlooked, and we get used to live with an average energy level that decreases gradually.

Last week I went to see my beloved doctor for a check: when I told her I was tired she told me again to slow down. And I heard myself saying once more: “yes, but…”

It is this “yes, but” that kills us slowly but surely.

Out of the blue I can give you at least ten reasons why I can’t have a proper day off where I’d do nothing, except feeding my self and my family.

The problem though is that a seven-days busy life a week is not sustainable in the long run.

What is the connection with my goal to help couples thrive you might wonder?

Well don’t you think that when you’re stretched, therefore stressed, your way of handling your relationship is affected?

If you remember, a lot of my posts put an emphasis on health, because it is the foundation of everything else.

A day off fosters health. Big time!

It allows you to slow down, to unwind and to reflect.

Life is too short to let it go without making sure you are right where you are supposed to be. How do you know that, will you ask?

Well, are you happy? Do you feel comfortable with your life, where you live, what you do, who you spend your life with?

Questioning is scary for many reasons but it is necessary.

Prayer is nothing but reflection silencing the mind. It does not have to be religious but it certainly is spiritual. And whether we like it or not we are spiritual beings. Ignoring that part does not lead to inner peace.

Reflecting offers the possibility to reconnect with who we are regardless of external pressure; it then allows us to give and receive from a neutral place.

Let me explain: too often relationships are reduced to an exchange of expectations more or less met. The key to a thriving long-term relationship is to feel good first. Most people wait for their partner to do this or that or stop doing this or that for them to feel at ease. They therefore hand over their happiness to their partner, instead of taking responsibility for it.

Nobody but yourself knows where your happiness lies. Nobody but yourself can guide you to do the things that will make you happy.

What feels right is felt. Is there anything more personal than a feeling? How do you expect to know what you feel if you don’t quiet your mind?

Until I was convinced that a day off was a necessity, it was amazing to see that whenever my husband and I would have some time of together, we would not talk much for a few days. These days were the recuperating time for each of us, and no energy was available for the other. Our energy tank was so empty that we could only cope with ourselves.

Then we would rediscover the other without any agenda, or any pressure.

For most long-term couples, especially when children are in the picture, there are so many things to deal with on a daily basis that communication is close to the one you would have with a business partner. That does not foster romance, or boost any woman’s libido.

Remember what it was at the beginning of the relationship. Your couple came first; you never let your daily lives spoil the chemistry.

Well, a day off can bring that back if you make it compulsory. The day will unfold, and soon you will be surprised by the difference in your home atmosphere.

One day with no outings, no driving, no shopping, no phone, no email, no TV. Your children will be calmer, and your bedtime will be nicer…

Don’t expect an enthusiastic response from your family at first, and it might be difficult to put that in place. By the way, this is where religion can become handy! If you stick to it, soon everybody will love it without really understanding why. Soon you will only do that day what truly means to you.

That evening, that night, you will not go to bed exhausted and you will have a sense of control over your life that you may not have in your daily routine.

If that sounds good, give it a try!

It does not cost anything but it is worth millions!