Take a Snow Day (Even If It's Not Snowing)

Remember the anticipation of even flurries in the forecast? You’d put your pajamas on inside out, cross your fingers, and park in front of the television, straining your eyes to read the ticker announcing school closures scrolling across the bottom of the screen during the local news.

And the euphoria when you finally saw your school’s name on that ticker? That, my friend, was pure, unmatched happiness.

Fast forward to today: While the East Coast may still be recovering from a Jonas-induced snow hangover, you might as well put your pajamas back on straight because now that you’re a working adult, snow days are fast becoming an endangered species.

Thanks (?) in large part to the rise of teleworking and smart phones, snow days no longer mean a reprieve from at least some form of work. While it’s easy to point to technology as the cause, in many cases, adults only have themselves to blame. Americans fail to use 662 million vacation days every year. At Project Time Off, we call these adults “work martyrs.” Top reasons workers say they leave vacation unused are fear of returning to a mountain of work (37%) and the belief that nobody else can do their job (30%).

Here's the good news: You don't have to wait for snow to take a snow day. This winter, put those unused vacation days to work and create a snow day for yourself anytime, no precipitation required. Treat yourself with these ideas:

  • Go back to bed. Sleeping late on a weekday is the ultimate lazy day luxury. Or, take a nap. 
  • Stay in your pajamas and slippers. Why put on makeup and do your hair when the only person you’ll see today is the mailman?
  • Make a big pot of soup for lunch. Or homemade pasta, or any other labor-intensive, cozy meal you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest.
  • Get cozy. Build a fire or snuggle up next to a fake one on your computer screen. Bonus points for making a big mug of spiked hot chocolate. 
  • Binge: Whether it's a show on Netflix, that pile of magazines, or the book you've been meaning to get to: Today's the day. 
  • Plan your next escape. Our research shows that the 49% of households that set aside time to plan out the use of paid time off for the year are happier in almost every category measured, especially their financial situation and jobs.

The point is that taking an unplanned day off can be good for you. In a world where we're electronically tethered to our work, a snow day could be just what the doctor ordered. 

P.S. If you're looking for a real snow day, we hear Michigan's got the best of them.

Note: The data and statistics referenced in this post have been updated since we originally published this post. Learn more about the State of American Vacation 2017.

February 2, 2016