I just came off a week’s hiatus, unusual for someone who puts in time around the clock. But I hit the wall of exhaustion the other day, and there are times when you can’t go a step further.
So I hung up my laptop to take a beat for a day, which stretched into another, until I came full circle in seven days.
Instead of writing to all hours, and racing off to appointments and interviews, I read. Watched movies. And took the dog for long walks.
I slept late. I baked. I got a jump on Christmas shopping. One day I took an afternoon nap. Most days I had great, long talks with my kids.
It’s easy for a family to find itself going through the motions, as each member works to fit everything in. You get used to living life on the fly and then overlapping in rare moments when everyone’s schedule converges.
Some of my fervor is by necessity since a freelancer must mold to other peoples’ timetables. Some is just my nature, with a work ethic on steroids. And some is just being lucky enough to write for the newspaper of my dreams, and a few private clients around the world. You do not want to mess that up.
It sounds exciting. And it is. But sometimes the brain cells revolt and make you slow down. Never mind mounting responsibilities on the home front that all require the same amount of concentration and effort.
Taking a mental health week did not give me tremendous insight, or persuade me to radically change my ways. I like my life, and generally it works pretty well. And, of course, I won’t be paid.
But every once in a while, when you reach critical mass, you have no other choice but to flip off the switch for a few days and reconnect with yourself and everyone else. And then come out the other side refreshed and ready to do it all over again.