On Friday, I took a JEN day.
JEN isn’t an acronym that stands for something snazzy. It’s a day I made up.
It’s a day when I squeeze my eyes shut and pretend I’m invisible. I don’t check email, I forget to read text messages, I stop thinking about ways to take over the world – by world, I mean my bank account. I am always trying to find a way to make my bank account have more than two zeros in it.
I’ve never taken a JEN day in my life.
I think I won an award in the twelfth grade for never missing a day of school, ever. I never won an award, but I was employee of the year when it came to going to work. I never missed a day or took a sick day in the 5-years I worked at an office job.
But things are a little different now.
I don’t work in a cubicle anymore. Some of my friends will accidentally say that I don’t have a real job or a full-time job.
Maybe they are right. I don’t have to answer to an HR department, or a boss, or comb my hair at 9am for a meeting with the department chair of a company that controls my salary, my vacation days, my chance at a promotion.
I work for myself. Sometimes I work out of coffee shops or co-working spaces or at the public library and in defense of us entrepreneurs, freelancers, and people hustling around, working 5 jobs a month to pay their rent, sometimes our hours are crazy.
Crazy, I tell you! They are longer than 9 to 5. Because when you are your own boss, you are your own everything. And, if you don’t make money that month, you don’t get a paycheck.
So lately, I’ve been waking up at 1am and then 3am and then 5am to check emails. I’ve been waiting to eat lunch until 4:30pm. I’ve been having shots of espresso, on the hour, every hour.
I don’t believe in taking days off. I work 7-days a week. My work life balance is a seesaw that always has the work side pointed up toward the sky, saying Look at me! Look at me!
I used to think if I didn’t go to school or to work or clear my inbox every night, then i’d miss out on something. That someone else would sneak up and steal a chunk of my routine.
But finally, when I woke up on Friday, with a bit of a sore throat and my mind screaming: PLEASE, NO. NO MORE EMAILS. I listened. For the first time in my life, I decided to take a day off.
But that’s my defense of my why I took a JEN day. You have your own.
And I want you to let yourself feel that.
I want you to let yourself take that sick day or that off day or that Saturday when you cancel all your plans and stay in bed.
Anyway, Friday was a Jen day. Something I promise to take once or twice a month.
The emails I didn’t respond to and the items on my to-do list that I didn’t check off, waited for me, all nice and pretty, when I woke up on Saturday morning, as I downed a glass of Emergen C and put on a pair of sneakers.
So rest – when you need to. Even when you want to. Do mindless things. Sit outside for 8-hours and stare at strangers. That sounds creepy. Maybe don’t do that.
Just take a [YOUR NAME] day whenever you need one – and don’t feel bad about it.
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