Take a Break
What if you stumbled on an ancient practice that would give you more productivity, more creativity, and more energy, while giving you less stress, less anxiety, and less sickness?
You’d be intrigued to learn as much as you can about it, I am sure.
I was pulled into Aaron Edelheit’s new book, The HARD Break: The Case for a 24/6 Lifestyle, from the very first pages where he outlines the benefits of taking one true day off from our hectic pace each week.
Deep down, I think all of us know that what we’re doing isn’t exactly good for us and isn’t exactly helping us be our best selves. We are overly-stressed, under-slept, chronically anxious as a society. We are never shutting down. Work follows us home and home follows us to work. Few places on the planet allow an escape from the Internet anymore.
And so, Aaron’s compelling research into the idea of taking the Sabbath, a day off each week, in a tradition that is thousands of years old was definitely intriguing.
Is it possible to actually do it?
I asked Aaron to share his personal experiences and his research. If the idea intrigues you, I encourage you to get his book to learn more. You’ll be glad you did.
Danger: Never Ending Workload
What are some of the negative effects we are seeing from our technology-enabled, always-on society?
Want an 80% increase in the risk of coronary disease? Work more than 10 hours a day. What about stress? Would you like to experience more stress than 57 percent of Americans? Then be sure to check your emails and texts on the weekends and non-work days.
And when you have your phone on all the time and you check it constantly, you effectively are “on call” to the world. A 2015 University of Hamburg study found that extended work availability, or being on call “has a negative effect: dampening mood and increasing markers of physiological stress.” Most notably, the stress carries on into the next day, even when people are no longer on call or working. The most important conclusion of this study was “that the mere prospect of work-related interruptions during free time can exacerbate stress.”[i]
And it’s not just traditional work that we are connected to. We are also connected to every Facebook friend, Twitter follower, Instagram feed, and more. According to one study, the temptation to check the Internet “was harder to resist than food or sex.”[ii] When technology has a more powerful pull than the most basic human needs, we might start to worry.
“To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.” -Plutarch
All of this is leading to some pretty serious mental health problems. Consider that disability awards for mental disorders have dramatically increased since 1980. Substance abuse, especially of opiates, is at epidemic levels.[iii] Mental health problems are becoming a significant burden for society. According to the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, mental illness and substance abuse cost employers an estimated $80 to $100 billion annually. The World Health Organization has named depression as the number one disease burden for the economy worldwide.[iv]
There are 200 footnotes in my book and that is after cutting many studies out. I had to work hard not to make my book a scientific journal of the problems stemming from working too much and being online 24/7.
“No man needs a vacation so much as the man who just had one.” -Elbert Hubbard