I went over to a friend’s house the other day. She is also self-employed and has many irons in the fire and she is also slightly obsessive and sometimes impossibly driven, like myself. I’m sure there’s some profile of people who work for themselves and this is no doubt part of it.
There was another woman there who works about half time for herself and also has a “regular” job. And she had a perspective that my friend and I can both logically come to on our own, but that in practice is extremely difficult for us. That idea is that because the work long-haul is more important than the short, and that because we really generally want the long-haul to work out, we have to have picnics and parties and days off now.
I had a client a couple of years ago who had been dealing with her adhesions and other health issues for so many years, still looking for something that would truly help her, that she finally began taking every weekend off of thinking about it. She wouldn’t come to a weekend appointment or answer/return phone calls from practitioners on the weekends, she wouldn’t research or read about her condition or treatment on the weekends, she would do her best to think only of non-health related things on her days off. I was amazed and fascinated by this, and yes, a bit jealous. If she could take time off from thinking about her BODY, why couldn’t I take time off from thinking about my (sometimes silly) work?
This happens in bodywork and yoga, too. The body and brain naturally come to a point where they need rest. Not just to repair or heal, but to literally (and deeply) absorb the change that has been made by all of the hard work you have done. This can only really happen on a subconscious, sub-body level; and the subconscious works best when we are resting, not when we’re spinning the hamster wheel.
I know I crave my days off. I know I dread the weeks when I know I will not have a day off – or when I will only have one. I know most of the time I feel guilty when I do get two consecutive days off. Because I know those these things, I know I want want want to learn to take more, and better, days off.
Full disclosure: I wrote this post on my only rest day this week – off to a good start, right? Oh, brother.