The 40-Hour Workweek
The 40-hour workweek has been around for a long time. Many years ago, men worked outside the home, and the women stayed home and cared for the children and the home. When the man came home from work, dinner was ready, the house was clean and his slippers and paper were ready for him. After the 40-hour workweek, his evenings and weekends were completely free, giving him more time for himself and his family. Very few women worked, and many single women lived at home with their family until they married. Also, people worked very close to their home, so they did not have “commuter stress.”
Today, both men and women work outside the home. Single parents have to care for children, pets and a home without a spouse. Single people without children don’t have a spouse to share home responsibilities. Very few married women are able to stay home with their children while their husbands work.
The 40-hour workweek does not allow enough downtime for our body, mind and spirit. We have no time for exercise, civic responsibilities, volunteer work and taking classes to expand our mind. The small amount of time in the evenings during the workweek gets used up quickly, as commuting takes a big chunk of our time. With only two days off, many people spend one day just running errands. After all, we have to eat, get our tires rotated, head to the post office to mail a package, etc. Doctors and dentists are only open during the week; so many people have to take vacation time for these appointments since they work five days a week. This leaves us even less time for a real vacation.
In a 24 hour day during the workweek, if you subtract 8 hours for work, 8 for sleeping, 1 for showering and getting ready, minimum 1 for commute time, 3 hours for eating all meals for the day, cleaning up dishes, taking out the trash, and 1 hour for running a couple of errands after or before work (or at lunch), you have a mere 2 hours left for yourself in the evenings!
Working 4 days, 8 hours per day allows us more time for rest, relaxation and family. It also gives us time to run errands during the week when businesses are open. We can visit an art museum or library, sit in a hammock and listen to the birds, have tea at a teahouse, go camping or run a 5-k road race for some exercise. Sufficient downtime from work is crucial to our well-being, and if we don’t get enough of it, our health suffers. We also need to practice s-l-o-w-i-n-g down during our time off. Learning how to relax may not be easy, especially if you are used to working at break-neck speed, but it can be done! Deep breathing throughout the day helps tremendously, relaxing body, mind and spirit.