As a born and raised New Yorker who talks fast and walks faster, “taking a break” is not in my vocabulary. The hustle only became stronger throughout the pandemic. I was fortunate to work from home, but being physically away from my team made me work harder and longer.
But being “on” all the time eventually led to burnout, and despite how much I liked my job and the team, I found myself dreaming of far-flung vacations with no internet access. I tried taking my own advice to others—stepping away from my laptop for lunch, going on mental health walks around my neighborhood, and setting boundaries between work and life. But each time, I’d feel guilty and find myself picking up my phone every five minutes to check for emails or Slack messages “just in case.”
It wasn’t until I was testing bathrobes for our Best of the Test guide that I started to unwind and relax. I love all the ones featured in the guide and keep them in rotation, but I find myself reaching for the Parachute Cloud Cotton most often. It’s lightweight enough to prevent overheating while still being cozy, and the length of the sleeves hit at a comfortable spot so they don’t get in the way of my typing—something that I know bothers every writer and editor. The angled side pockets are more streamlined than other robes that have them right on the front, and the waist-tie has been the most secure I’ve tested, so it keeps me comfortably swaddled as I work.
Turns out, I was just as productive while wearing the Cloud Cotton robe, but I also started feeling more comfortable taking breaks, stepping away, and keeping my phone far away from me. It’s silly to think that something as simple as a giant blanket with a waist-tie would change anything, but somehow, being swaddled like an adult baby reminded me that it was okay to take a break—and actually encouraged me to take them more often.
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d worn a robe before I started testing them. As a frequent traveler pre-pandemic, most hotel rooms I’d stayed in had robes to put relaxation top of mind. As to be expected, I never actually used them because the New Yorker in me never truly relaxed even while on vacation. So, to test almost a dozen robes was a whole new experience, and to test them in the comfort of my own house felt truly weird. The phrase “working hard or hardly working” ran across my mind a million times, and each time, I’d tell myself, “You need to chill.”
Now, I throw a robe on as soon as I wake up and go about my morning routine. Even though my to-do list hasn’t gotten any shorter, I find that I’m taking a few extra minutes to savor my espresso before signing on to Slack and when I take breaks, they’re more frequent and restorative.
And yes, even as I write this, I’m wearing a bathrobe.
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