woman relaxingI am the self-anointed queen of multi-tasking. In fact, I am sitting in an Uber car writing this very post. I can see a client, run home to do a load of laundry all while roasting veggies for the week and practicing training commands with my new rescue dog. This kind of pace usually goes on for at least 10-12 hours a day. Most of it is self-imposed, but a lot isn’t. In our instantaneous, result-driven, go-get-’em culture, it is ridiculously easy for us to feel lazy if we aren’t ‘doing’ 24/7. And there certainly isn’t always a lot to do if you are self-employed like me. If I don’t do the things needing to be done, no one else is going to do them for me.

Every once and awhile, I hit the wall. Hard. It isn’t pretty and there may or may not be some cursing and crying involved. That’s when I know I need to take a day off, stat. Not a day where I do errands or clean or catch up on e-mails, but a day that where I clear the calendar and I literally lay on the sofa and watch a marathon of my favorite shows or something else that feels decadently self-indulgent. These do-nothing days are important for our health, our attitude and our sanity, especially if you are in the service business. As an instructor I am constantly giving, which is a joy that I love and my passion, but it can be depleting.

I can’t say that I am perfect at taking these mental health days. I still stress a little thinking about what I could be or ‘should be’ doing on a day off, but it’s getting better. These days give me the chance to shut off my brain and recharge, and I love that my biggest decision is which restaurant I should order take-out from. My mood improves and I am ready to tackle the next day with a little more zest. Everything I ‘have to’ or ‘need’ to do will still be there tomorrow.

So: how can you take the leap, clear the books and kick back?

Jessica Kuiken is a Los Angeles-based Pilates instructor. You can follow her on Twitter @bnbpilates.

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