This article has been published on The Huffington Post.
Taking time to relax and renew
I love getting the day off, thanks to a snow storm. It is a gift, a blessing, and a privilege.
When I was a kid growing up in Montclair, New Jersey, when we got a snow day, I was relieved to have a day off from school. A snow day meant extra time to catch up on things. It meant extra time to play.
I’d finish up a homework assignment or start a future one. If a test was cancelled (score!) I had an extra day to study. Usually I slept in and caught up on sleep. Throughout the day, I had more opportunities to connect with my parents over meals and to play Barbies, watch movies, or make blanket forts with my sisters.
I’d meet up with my friends and go sledding. One year my neighbors and I built an epic snow fort in our driveway, which lasted for several weeks and became our favorite place to play every afternoon.
A snow day was then—as it is now—a welcome break in the routine.
Today as an adult living in the Boston suburbs, I savor the extra time to take naps, snuggle with my dogs, clean parts of our house I haven’t gotten to in a long time, spend time with my husband, and to do leisure activities.
One of my favorite hobbies is working on my house plants. I enjoy making cuttings of my Pothos plants to grow new ones. I cultivate rich soil by adding organic matter like eggshells, coffee grinds, and orange peels. I water and prune my pots that are overflowing with tropical plants.
Today, as I used my garden spade to turn over the soil in one of my larger house pots, I savored the rich, earthy smell. The bright green colors of my plants and warm heat of our apartment provided a welcome contrast to the snowy, muted winter wonderland outside.
In addition, I got to hug my husband more often throughout the day, which we both enjoyed. My dogs fell asleep next to me on the couch, and they were so cozy and relaxed that soon I, too, fell asleep.
It occurred to me that having a “snow day” is truly a blessing.
I thought about how this is not possible for everyone. There are others who have to get to work, no matter whether a foot of snow falls overnight or not. Perhaps fulfilling their income for the week depends upon it. Perhaps feeding their family depends upon it. Perhaps saving lives depends upon it. They have to dig out and make their way to work— to salt the roads, to work in a hospital, or to open up a grocery store or a gas station.
It also occurred to me that a snow day is in many ways, therapeutic. Even if we don’t get a snow day gifted to us, we can choose to intentionally take a day off to spend time at home, prioritize self care, and to do all of the relaxing, renewing activities that make us feel healthy and content. Sometimes the weekend is not enough, sometimes we benefit from an extra day of rest.
As I look out the window at the massive snowman my neighbors built this morning, I smile. I feel grateful to be at home.