You Still Need Breaks, Even When You’re Funemployed

sleeping_fox(Image credit: Photos Public Domain)

I’m an introvert who no longer works a traditional full-time job– so when my spouse goes out of town, I happily bunker in with my laptop and grind away. I added about 5-6K words to my manuscript in rewrites, drafted an article, drafted blog posts- waking up early each morning and falling asleep late each night. Friday, I picked my spouse up from the airport. With delays and weather, we didn’t get home until after midnight.

After a full week administering training, my spouse needed Saturday to recover. Grudgingly, so did I. I woke up intending to keep up the week’s grueling pace- except I majorly slept in. Coffee didn’t clear the brain-fog. My spouse sat down to play a fun new video game, and poof went the last of my work ethic.

And you know what? It’s OK.

I often assume that, because my primary work these days is something I enjoy doing, I can put nose to grindstone 7 days a week. A nice thought, but my decidedly-not-a-robot body just doesn’t allow it. After a 5-6 day push, I need a day, sometimes two, to recharge. Afterward, I have an easier time waking up in the morning and buckling down on work.

But strangely, it’s hard not to feel guilty about these break days. My work isn’t anything one would consider strenuous, after all. What am I recovering from?

The answer is creative work- which can be very draining. Besides that, I already know my brain needs more leeway than most. Still, it’s hard for me to designate a break day and not sneak in work somewhere on the side, thus ruining the whole point. I’ll just sort a little mail, write some holiday cards… oh geez, I never actually rested, did I? No wonder I’m still dragging!

When guilt conspires to separate me from my break time, I try to mitigate it by planning out what I’ll work on each day for the coming week. That helps reassure me that things will still get done, even if I spend a few hours loafing in the present. It’s important to be realistic, though, and not assign yourself more than what you can really do in one day.

You also have to admit you’re human, and allow yourself a future break at some point.

Do you have a hard time sitting still on off-days? How do you cope? Let me know in the comments!

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