Why everyone needs a “snow day” from life’s craziness

That's me, all bundled up with snow to my mid-thighs.

Remember how we used to feel when we looked out our bedroom windows when we were kids and saw SNOW. Lots of it! The giddiness, the excitement, the rush of not having to go to school was overwhelming. Well, I haven’t felt that way about a snow day until this week when the East Coast got hit with a blizzard that dumped 26 inches of snow on New Jersey, where I live.

The reason for my excitement had nothing to do with not having to trudge to school or to work, and had everything to do with taking a forced break from the madness of the holidays. Sometimes we all need to get outside and play in the snow—without worrying about running around to do errands (there was no driving anywhere) or be anywhere except home (including the gym!). I didn’t get out of my sweats all day and even took a nap!

Already in on the action: my 6-year-old son.

But I wonder why we don’t give ourselves this option without having it forced on us by Mother Nature. We take days off from work to do things (move, have furniture delivered, travel somewhere), but never to just do absolutely and blissfully NOTHING. And half of us (myself included) lose much-needed vacation time in the process. Add to that the fact that when we are “home” on vacation days, we’re usually frantically checking our Blackberrys or iPhones every half hour—so we  never mentally disconnect. (That’s even the case when we take sick days.)

My 3-year-old daughter ready to play!

The benefit of disconnecting from the world is true relaxation: our bodies can rest, we can get rejuvenated, and we can clear our minds to move forward.

So even if you didn’t have a chance to take a snow day, book one into your schedule for 2011. You deserve it—and more importantly, your body (and soul) is craving it.

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Valerie LatonaAbout Valerie Latona
As the former editor in chief of Shape (the active lifestyle magazine) for 5 years, I personally spoke with a lot of women (thousands over the years, from around the nation) and what I found is this: it's not easy to stay healthy, to get (and stay) fit, and to stem the weight gain tide (and even the tide of disease) that inevitably happens to us as we get older.