So, earlier today on Facebook (because don’t pretend you aren’t also stalking social networking at midnight), I said that I declared today a “Preserve Your Mental Health Pajamas Day”. And what, you ask, is that? Come, dear reader, and I will tell you.
A “Preserve Your Mental Health Pajamas Day” (or PYMHPD, for the acronymically-inclined), is a day where, to maintain and safeguard your precious sanity, you just wear your pajamas. All day. At least, until you feel better. It is a day dedicated to self-care and the general lowering of expectations.
“So what do you do while wearing your pajamas?” you might ask. Good question. The answer? Whatever you want. Maybe you need a day of wearing your PJs, watching Community, and eating reheated Chinese food that is being carefully balanced on your torso. Maybe you’ll read a book (for fun!) and have some tea. Maybe you’ll do all the work you meant to do anyway, but in your pajamas.
And this, friends, is why the pajamas are important. They are symbolic clothing. In the same way that a police officer’s uniform conveys authority or a hospital gown reminds you that you have no dignity and should maybe hoard the Jell-O cups, pajamas have a set of associated expectations. Pajamas are not work clothes. They are sleep clothes. They are lounging clothes. By wearing your pajamas past waking time, you are signaling to yourself and others that today hasn’t really begun yet. The things you do don’t count yet. Because of this, the expectations for what you are “supposed to” achieve don’t exist in quite the same way. Think about it. Usually, the only reason you wear your pajamas all day is that you’re sick*. And when you’re sick, there are a different set of expectations. After all, no one decent expects you do everything you normally do if you’ve got a fever or are puking up all the things. Heck, then it’s an achievement if you brush your hair, much less write a report or unload the dishwasher. Leaving on your pajamas, then, makes that day a sick day. And just because it’s your mind or heart or soul that’s sick doesn’t make it any less justified. Those parts of you need care, too.
I’ve had a pretty rough couple of days. Between preparing for finals, working on the student magazine, and (almost) losing my keys (including a terrible, horrible, no good very bad stretch of being locked out of my building in the snow with no cell minutes), it was definitely time for a reset, and a lowering of expectations. So friends, be kind to yourselves today. Take a breather. Take a nap. Take a “Preserve Your Mental Health Pajamas Day”.
* or a college student, in which case, step up your game. Unless you’ve got an 8 AM, put on some jeans.