The Three Day Rule

Self-care is like THE THING. And I’m not putting that in caps to be snarky. Self-care is important & vital to your overall health: mental & physical. And somehow it managed to be a part of my life since I was a teenager.

Around high school, my mom initiated a policy for me & my sister. She called it the “3 Day Rule.” And it went something like this:

  • You get 3 days to call off from school
  • You can’t use them consecutively
  • You can’t be used to avoid a project, test, presentation, etc
  • You can coordinate any or all of the 3 days with your sister, if desired
  • You still get the three days regardless of how many sick days used; the 3 day rule does not apply to sick days 

Our mom wanted us to have these “hookie” days because she felt that sometimes, you just need a (mental) break from school. If you wake up, & you get that feeling deep in your gut - that, “I really don’t want to do this today” feeling – you should listen to it.

Now, my sister was much better at using the “3 Day Rule.” She even invoked it sometimes after she got to school. A few bad or weird classes, & she would sneak off the bathroom, text our mom, & have her call the school, proclaiming she needed my sister to leave for ________ (insert whatever white lie she crafted).

With that done, our mom would arrive, pick her up, & off they'd go. Often they'd go to the mall, shop, have lunch, see a matinee movie or two ... 

But me, I had hard time figuring out when to use my days. Most of the time, I invoked my “hookie” days when my stress was too much. I have stress management & generalized anxiety* where I get some panic-attack type moments, tunnel vision, shortness of breath, etc. So I’d use my “get outta school” card whenever I need to chill the fuck out.

I‘d ask to use one of my days, especially if the weather was shitty, to hangout in the house. Having the house ALL TO MY MYSELF was magical. Sitting on the sofa, reading, watching old movies (hello repeated viewings of The Thin Man series).

Sometimes though, our mom called in the “3 Day Rule.” She’d ask me & my sister if we wanted to use a day, & we'd go do some big thing with her. Like, a few times, she called us in sick & took us to Winter Fair; a big artisan/craft fair that takes place in December. It’s most of the weekend, but Friday, during the day, was less crowded. Plus, there was the added excitement of “we should be in school & instead we’re doing this!”

My sister & I would walk the stalls & look at nifty knick-knacks, art, & jewelry. Our mom still has the cat pin we bought her one year, made out of clock parts. And I still have the bracelet + earrings I bought myself with the meager money I’d earned from chores.

I’m still impressed that our had the intuition for self-care days. It’s something that I still try to incorporate into my life. Even in college & my professional life, I tried to keep in mind that there needed to be at least one day that I could take for myself. No running errands, or working from home, but a day to reset.

So here’s to the “3 Day Rule.” Thanks mom <3 


* I’ve never been diagnosed, so I understand that I can’t fully label myself like that