When you want to take off of work, don’t you always err towards taking off on a Friday? We sure do. That way, we can extend the weekend and not have to worry about deadlines or anything else until Monday.
Same goes for Monday—if you take that day off, you can leave work on a Friday knowing you have a three-day weekend. Those are definitely the best days to take off, right?
Actually, science says something a little different. Experts believe that Wednesdays are actually the best day of the week to take off if you need a break.
A break is just what a Wednesday off is going to give you. And this middle-of-the-week break can help you find a better pace in life, and help you feel better if you’re overwhelmed at work. In fact, it works much better than Fridays do!
“Everyone has a different chronotype. Some people are slower moving, some people are faster moving,” says Dawna Ballard, a communications professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a scholar of chronemics, the study of time and communication. “Our work, though, just goes and throws that out the window and says actually, this is how fast you have to work, this is when you have to work.”
It’s especially helpful when you know in advance that you’re taking off the Wednesday. Getting to look forward to the break in the middle of week can help with your happiness as well. “You start the week knowing, I only have two days on this rhythm and then I get back to mine, ” Ballard says. “There’s a greater sense of calm and control.”
If you can’t take off every Wednesday — of course, that’s not an option for many of us — you might want to see if you could work from home on Wednesdays, if you have a job where you’re able to do so. This option could have similar effects as taking off the day altogether.
“People’s moods are oftentimes buoyed when they’re looking forward to enjoyable activities,” says Steven Meyers, professor of psychology at Roosevelt University in Chicago. “And that positive attitude can have residual effects, as people remember a fun, relaxing day, even after returning to reality.”
Sometimes we think that we can’t afford to take a day in the middle of week off because we’re worried we’ll get behind, but it can actually have some major positive effects on your work itself. “Some work tasks actually improve when we put them aside to get a refreshed perspective,” Meyers says. “We can approach them with a fresh set of eyes and have new ideas about how to complete the task.”
So next time you really need a day off, try taking a Wednesday off and see how you feel. It could be just what you need to refresh and revive yourself.
What day do you usually take off? Do you think you might try taking a Wednesday off next time you’re in need of a break? What day of the week do you usually struggle with most?