Our work lives have been compared to hamster wheels in which we are the hamster, running and running with nothing to mark our progress except the squeak in the wheel. From dawn until dusk, and often long after dark, we move incessantly from one task or activity to the next. We run here and there and try to get it all done. Sometimes we just have to get off the wheel! This is why my husband and I declared our first pajama day last year.
We were pushing hard and had reached a point of sheer exhaustion. I couldn’t wrap my mind around doing one more thing, going one more place. Every day of our schedule was booked and there was no end in sight. So, we decided we were in desperate need of a pajama day.
We cleared our schedule for the day, canceling appointments and begging off previous engagements for the day. The rules were simple, stay in our pajamas and do nothing productive all day. No working on projects or cleaning the house. We couldn’t check emails or pay bills. It was more than just a day away from the office; it was a real day off.
The idea of doing nothing is so foreign to most of us that it almost seems immoral. If we stop moving from task to task, will our world fall apart? We weren’t sure, but we decided it was worth the risk. At the pace our schedule was spinning, we knew we were headed for a crash in the near future.
Staying in our pajamas and doing nothing seemed a bit extreme, but it was time to take drastic measures to get the rest we were chronically missing. It wasn’t about sleeping all day, although that would have been fine. It was about relieving the constant pressure we felt to do more, be somewhere, and try harder. It was about taking time to be instead of do. It was about regaining room to breathe and slowing down enough to see straight.
Most of all, it was about discovering the long lost art of rest. Rest means more than falling into bed after a long day. It means more than taking a day off work so you can work around the house. Rest means more than sleeping in an extra 30 minutes then running off for a day of kids’ activities and people to please.
We often treat rest like a yield sign, slowing down just enough so we don’t collide with others. If we are really astute, we might even imagine rest as a stop sign, pausing briefly before continuing down the road. Rarely do we actually put our lives in park; and when we do, our engine is always idling, ready to go into drive again.
Declaring a pajama day is like pulling the car into the garage and turning the key off. It gives the engine a break. It gives the driver a break. This type of rest is rare. Our schedules are so full that we simply don’t have time. This is why we have to make it happen, not all the time, but sometimes. Sometimes we just have to shut everything down and do nothing. Sometimes we just have to stay in our pajamas all day and remember what it means to rest – really rest. Are you ready for a pajama day?
I want to hear from you. What would you do on a pajama day?