Why Wednesday Is the Best Day to Take Off Work

Not taking a long weekend might be better for your health in the long run.

If you were lucky enough to have Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day off work, you might be singing the praises of long weekends. It’s great to have three work-free days in a row, followed by a short four-day week. Despite that, though, it turns out Monday is not actually the best day to take off work—and neither is Friday.

Experts have found that the best day to take off is Wednesday. The pace of life on the weekend versus the work week helps explain why it feels hard to get back in the groove on Monday morning—but that doesn’t mean that the best way to reinvigorate yourself is by taking a long weekend. A mid-week break doesn’t disrupt the work week but gives you time to recharge. That’s good to know if you’ve encountered some of these 10 sneaky sources of stress at work.

Our body clocks have a lot to do with it—our experience of time is determined by what’s known as “pacers,” Dawna Ballard, a scholar of chronemics (the study of time and communication), told Quartz. Some are internal, like whether you’re a morning person or a night owl. Others are determined by outside factors, such as the structure of a work week or having a deadline. Even (or especially!) if you’re not taking a day off, you’ll want to know these 34 ways to make your workday less stressful.

“Everyone has a different chronotype,” Ballard says. “Some people are slower moving, some people are faster moving. 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.”

And that’s important for your health, scientists have found. “Chronic misalignment between our lifestyle and the rhythm dictated by our inner timekeeper is associated with increased risk for various diseases,” writes Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Robash, and Michael W. Young in research on our circadian rhythms.

But if you can’t take the day off completely, Wednesday is also a good day to work from home. While working from home on Monday or Friday makes it almost an extension of the weekend, a mid-week break from a long work commute can help people get more done. Wednesday might be the best day to take off work, but find out when to get bargains with the cheapest days of the week to do everything.

Jen McCaffery
Jen McCaffery is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Prevention, Rhode Island Monthly, and other publications and websites. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s growing veggies or trying to figure out the way home from assorted trails.