I admit I’m not the best at taking my own advice. You know, the advice that goes something like, ‘Take a load off’, ‘Have a rest’, ‘Give yourself a break’ or, as my teen son is fond of saying, ‘Chill’.
I read things like this and fully agree. But don’t actually listen.
I’m accomplished at feeling guilty if I don’t do something. If I don’t produce something, or have something to show for my day.
I have multiple lists of things to tick off – personal and professional – and so I usually have plenty to fill my time. But when I have extra free time, like now, in that week between Christmas and the New Year, I potter … in other words, I try to find something to do. Like sorting cupboards – filling the boot of the car with things I don’t need and can go to others who do need it. Like deciding to wash everyone’s sheets and blankets. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s like I see this extra time as a gift to get more done.
And so I rarely rest. And let myself recover from constant busy-ness.
I’m used to my compulsion to do things. It’s part of me. But this week I’ve been working on enjoying this gift of time in a different way. Reading in the middle of the day. Writing when the mood strikes. Helping Blue Eyes buy a kayak. Meditating. Watching a movie or two. Wandering in the garden with the cat to take photos like this:
I broke my finger a few weeks ago. It’s getting better but it’s still taped and I wear a splint at night. My left wrist has started to ache at night and that’s bothering me. And earlier this year, right when I went on holidays, I came down with severe tonsillitis – and didn’t realise that’s what it was until I came home. I soldiered on, feeling awful, but determined to make the most of my holiday.
What does that tell me? Exactly what all my loved ones tell me. Rest is important. Time does not always have to be used, but experienced. Enjoyed. My body will let me know otherwise.
This week I’ve had to remind myself several times of this. After five days, I feel like the message may be getting through.
Are you good at taking time out?