Labour Day, and the balanced life of an ‘unbalanced’ woman

This Monday is a public holiday where I live, a day we celebrate the union movement and the call for “8 hours for work, 8 hours for recreation, 8 hours for rest”. You can read more about Labour Day here.

Labour Day has a particular significance for me this year, as I contemplate a life thoroughly uprooted and disrupted by mental illness. Goodness, last year I was just so grateful to have an excuse not to work on this day – and I suspect I may have seen a client anyway! (Note to other would-be self employed people: boundaries are good, and prophylactic against mental ill health.)

Within the last fortnight, I’ve accepted the reality that I can’t work for now – at least, not in the manner I’m used to. I may be able to earn money in other ways, but not doing the demanding, client-based work I’ve done in the past, and which I hope to return to.

This means Labour Day has taken on a whole new meaning. Sure, I could have spent the day catching up on TV or in the arms of the beloved or cooking, and I’ve spent time doing of all these things, but what I’ve been focussing on is how to bring even more balance back into my disrupted life. So I have been setting up coffee dates with friends (social connectedness), making sure I’ve already completed and written out my homework for tomorrow’s DBT group (organization), spent time doing things I love (self-care), and planned out my exercise regime for the week (physical health).

Does your nation/state/city celebrate a Labour Day, and if so, what does it mean to you? How important is a balanced life to your mental health?

18 Comments

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18 responses to “Labour Day, and the balanced life of an ‘unbalanced’ woman

  1. jenusingword

    Reblogged this on jenusingword's Blog and commented:
    Such a great read and person to follow!

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  2. eddieredvine

    We don’t have a Labour Day in the UK. But I have been accused of trying to grow another end to my candles as both ends are already burning. I suspect it had something to do with the MH issues I have now too. x

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    • Yes … eight hours for work, and only eight! I don’t know many people who only work eight hours. The day is actually called “Eight Hours Day” in Tasmania.

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      • eddieredvine

        I don’t think I’ve ever worked only 8 hours per day… When we are in school we are taught that the working day doesn’t end at the end of the working day but that we should also work at home (homework)… So it is only natural that we should carry this into our adult life…

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      • So true. Yet another reason why homework in the school setting is queationable, at least in the early years!

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  3. Here’s one of the “labor” (oh, yeah, we yanks took the “u” out, cuz we’re sorta lazy I guess) songs I played on a radio special on September 1, 2013 – our Labor Day Weekend. I wish the show was archived somewhere, but we only archive stuff for two weeks (kfai.org). Labor Day used to mean a lot more here – unions are really losing their power – Machinist Man is a Teamster and they don’t have the bargaining power they once had. I hope things don’t continue in this direction.

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  4. Labor Day in the U.S. is on the first Monday in September.

    “It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.”

    For me it has always marked the end of the summer and when I was younger, it signaled the beginning of school. It was also a big shopping weekend where retail stores stayed open late and people who worked in those stores seemed to spend extra hours at work. (go figure).

    As for me, when I was working last, I can say that I easily surpassed 8 hours a day. I regularly put in 12-15. Sometimes it felt like 30. That may be something that contributed to the fact that I don’t work at all now.

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    • Me too! The overwork thing, I mean.

      The conservative government currently in power here in Australia at the moment (confusingly called the Liberal Party, go figure) wants to rein in penalty rates for waged workers on weekends and public holidays – because it will be good for business. Of course, the people most affected by this would be low income earners, and the people who would benefit most would be business owners. That’s why I believe in compulsory voting: at least make the buggers work for their money-grubbing policies by trying to sell them to the majority of Australians!

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  5. I can’t really say that many of us Americans ever consider Labor Day at all. We just complain about unemployment and low wages. Ha! Ungrateful bastards the lot of us. 😉

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    • We were all far more complacent in Australia ten years ago. Now the conservative federal government is talking about reining in penalty rates for weekends and public holidays – obviously to the detriment of waged workers and the benefit of business owners, surprise surprise. This is why I strongly believe in compulsory voting: at least the bastards will have to find a way to sell their money-grubbing policies to the economic underclass! (Sorry, I get a bit passionate about working conditions!)

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  6. Labour Day (when we have it) I enjoy the day away from work and all to myself. Bit like weekends really but with the added bonus of it being a weekday. 🙂

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  7. ocdjm

    Labor day is just a 3 day weekend for me. Trying to find balance in life is difficult at best.

    Like

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