Time for relaxation seems increasingly scarce. (Gazette file)

Editorial: We need to re-learn how to slow down

We’d love to see a return to a time when businesses could close up shop for a few days

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year.

Mostly.

The carols are cheering, and everyone is in a giving mood. Smiles light faces a little more often. Lights bring a glow to houses along the roadsides as we navigate this time of year when the sun disappears early from the sky and we have the most hours of darkness It’s a chance to get together and celebrate with family and friends.

But it can also be more than a bit overwhelming. As great as it is to see everyone, all of the obligations can be exhausting. It can seem like there’s hardly a spare moment, and you have to move at light speed to try to get everything done to meet everybody’s expectations.

And you’re expected to keep up with your regular pace at work as well. For many (the newspaper business is definitely included here) the holiday season can mean an even more frenetic pace than usual, with little opportunity to take time off. We seriously envy those who can take two or even three weeks off in December and January.

Was it always this crazy? Or have the holidays gotten more stressful over time?

We’d love to see a return to a time when businesses could close up shop for a few days, if not a week or so around the holidays. We tend to think these days that we wouldn’t be able to survive without shops open seven days per week until 9 p.m., but this breakneck pace wasn’t always the norm.

It would be nice if we could, collectively, hunker down for a while and just give ourselves a rest during or after the holidays. We venture to offer the idea that the world would not stop turning if we did, and it would make life much more sane for many people.

Consider the retail workers who won’t even get all of Christmas Day off. There’s something fundamentally flawed with our society now that we find it unfathomable that there’s a single day out of 365 when we can’t buy stuff. Think about that. Think about what that says about our priorities in life.

How did we get here, why are we here, and do we want to stay here?

These are important questions that are only going to become more vital as we head into the future. Stress is at an all-time high. We need to re-learn how to slow down. We need to re-learn that this is a desirable thing.

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