Opinion

Celebrating National Relaxation Day

(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

I love England. Studying abroad there during my junior year of college, I truly felt at ease and at home. I was immediately taken with the accents (duh), the theater (I saw 40-some plays and musicals during my time there), the public transit system and the pubs. So it’s no surprise to me that a brilliant (see, I could be British) holiday came to us from across the pond.

And I’m totally taken with it, too.

National Slacker Day. Of course, we Americans adjusted the PC-friendly name and refer to it as National Relaxation Day. Haven’t heard of it? Well, it’s great. And you’re in luck — because it’s this Friday!

Aug. 15 is the day to relax, de-stress and unwind. And though it sounds like a prime advertisement model for the Massage Envys of the country, it’s a great idea. And a perfect tie in to one of my favorite topics: wellness.

I’ve argued this before, but I stand by it: Wellness programs across the nation focus too little on emotional and mental health. Mental anguish and stress takes its toll at the office, affecting our productivity. The inability to disconnect after hours only exacerbates the problem. And, of course, we know by now that it ties in directly to our physical well-being.

(A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, for example, finds that “a combination of stress, raised blood pressure and unhealthy diets stemming from long working hours may be the cause of thousands of workers’ serious health problems.)

But maybe most importantly, when we’re too busy and too stressed out life passes us by.

Though it may seem silly, at the very least a holiday devoted to relaxation is a helpful reminder to take a step back and focus on our overall wellbeing.

Organizers of the day say it “intends to remind people that life does not revolve around the office, and that a day spent in bed or in front of the telly can make a remarkable improvement to your health and happiness.”

“The UK currently endures the longest working hours in Europe and one of the shortest average life expectancies,” they say. “Everyday, otherwise creative and intelligent people are driven to hair loss and road rage due to an unhealthy ‘work comes first’ stress driven culture.”

I’m not a fan of hair loss, but I’m definitely a fan of television, so this all makes perfect sense to me.

Coincidentally enough, on the eve of National Relaxation Day, I’m incredibly stressed out, driven by deadlines, a move and various projects. And though not going to work in honor of the holiday is not an option, I’m not going to rule out taking off early and postponing some of my responsibilities. It’s a good thing the wine tasting I planned weeks ago falls on this weekend — seems like a good way to celebrate.

I’m certainly not one to waste a perfectly good fake holiday.

About the Author
Kathryn Mayer

Kathryn Mayer

Kathryn Mayer is Managing Editor for Benefits Selling magazine. She can be reached at kmayer@sbmedia.com

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