It’s easy to get sucked into the fast-moving world and forget the much-needed rest for the body. Every once in a while, the soul craves connecting to the universe and some quiet reflection upon the happenings. The Covid-19 health hazards around the world, the Ukraine war, gun violence in the USA, and global inflation, to mention a few of the existing problems, have people on the pins and cushions. Taking an occasional break from work or the daily chores is rejuvenation. Whether one wishes to go alone, in a group, or as a family, the goal is to breathe a bit.
Taking time off from everyday things need not be expensive or time-consuming. Going off to a nearby beach or an open space would be a different experience than the usual cleaning and grocery. The idea is to put the need for the break as a priority. The working couple, Minira and Shahin, with their two school-going children, have to take the kids to tutors and art lessons on the weekend besides the grocery. Work seemed endless, and they were on the edge when Shahin decided not to take the kids to tutors on the weekend and bought fish and veggies on his way home on Thursday. “Let’s go for a picnic in Gazipur. Winter is almost over, and the picnic time will be gone.”
Looking at life through some creative lens adds life to the canvas when we add pictures of new places and faces. As Maya, a teacher, says, “It’s like writing a poem or a painting. You just have to sit down and make it happen. We add fun and colour to life when we take a break or go off on a long vacation”.
When parents have kids at different schools, it is tricky to organise the vacation time between their break and their jobs. The kids may be unaware of the situation and feel left out when their peers go on family holidays. We must communicate with the children and let them know where the parent’s work leave and their school do not work for a long break. But the weekends can work for shorter ones. The children are often far wiser than we expect them to be; they need to be communicated with the realities facing the family.
Taking some leisure time to relax with family is a pause right at home. One doesn’t always have to go off somewhere to take a break. If possible, rest and watch the birds and the clouds float. As humans, we are so busy with things needing to be done that the steadiness in nature is an antidote to our stress. As William Henry Davis says in his poem,--- Leisure
“What is this life if, full of care,
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass…”
The need to slow down in life is vital to keeping in good mental and physical health. The sun goes down for a reason; the darkness in the night comes to soothe our frayed nerves—overworked and stressed causes what is said to be a burn-out. Taking time off with friends and community members could strengthen family ties and help strengthen socializing. Some trips are more affordable when taken as a group regarding hotels and transportation.
Not everyone has a choice to take off at times. On the other hand, as experts would say, your health is your wealth to allow you to sustain yourself in the long run. In one way or another, taking off from daily life challenges to appreciate life as a blessing is rejuvenating. Too often, we get caught in the charm of having more wealth or status. It would be a good reminder that excess ownership comes with more work. There is a price to pay for everything we enjoy, but that does not mean we have to buckle down to them. Simplicity may be a key to living a more relaxed life and taking the breaks one so severely needs for peace and solace in life.
Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA