#13: I TOOK A BREAK. And I liked it.
After 12 days of daily blogging, I took a break from my 100days content challenge over the Christmas period. It was not a planned break. It was imposed.
My body simply said ‘no’.
On Christmas Eve I fell ill (not Covid, thanks for asking). I was unable to write anything that day. Dazed and with a headache I considered my options: “should this be counted as a failure?”- I asked myself. “No”- I decided. “It’s Christmas Eve!” (the most important Christmas day according to Polish tradition). I was excused.
By the next morning, it was obvious that neither my brain nor my hands would be much of use, so I had two options:
- Write something, anything, just to continue
- Take proper rest, get better and then write something at least intentionally better
After a short consideration, I decided to make a risky move: take the rest of Christmas and the coming Sunday off. Considering that my original plan was to write every day, that was not an easy decision to make. I feel obliged to add here that the plan was made very spontaneously, without any real understanding of what I was putting myself in for (thank god, otherwise I’d never done it).
The risk was that I would never feel the motivation to continue.
However, something surprising happened to me the moment I made up my mind. Just by making a decision (even though there were not many options left to me) I put myself back in the driving seat. It made me feel empowered: I was not weak or unable to continue. I DECIDED to stop for a few days until I was ready to pick the practice back up again.
After all, this crazy challenge was taken with one goal in mind: to develop a practice. MY PRACTICE. The whole point of it all was to not be worried so much about the reader and not to expect anything from them. It was not their obligation to show up and keep me accountable. It was my obligation to show up and practice writing.
However, even in a self-imposed challenge, there is a space to take a break and rest. Furthermore, I am the only person who should give myself that permission.
And so I did.
This situation made me realise how little rest time we allow ourselves when we run our own businesses. It’s not the first time I have had this realisation, yet each time it feels new and it takes me by surprise.
It made me think of a comic I saw once: A page split into two parts, on each side a desk and a clock showing 5minutes to six pm.
On the left-hand side, an employee is slouching over the computer starting intensely at the clock wanting the minute hand to move faster.
On the right-hand side, a self-employed person is sweating trying to finish several projects at once, hoping for the minute hand to slow down.
When I saw it the first time, it made me laugh out loud. I was freshly self-employed and I recognised myself in the figure on the right-hand side with a bit of pride. Self-employment is not for everyone. You have to be self-motivated, self-driven, self-accountable, self-organised.
Today, thinking about this image, I am more reflective. As an employee, we knew exactly when the workday was finished and it was our time: to rest, to play, to live the life. As self-employed, we often forget there is anything else that matters, least of all our bodies.
Amongst the many successful entrepreneurs I follow and listen to, I hear many stories of burnout and breakdowns due to exhaustion. Yet, just like children not wanting to listen to their parents, we seem to push forward, without any regard for the one vehicle we have, our body, pushing forward no matter what, often on empty engines.
It’s no surprise the best ideas come to us under a shower, on a walk or on a toilet. It’s rest that allows for innovation. It’s rest that creates momentum for change.
Again, just like in my “Who’s in your way” article, I reminded myself that sometimes we can be our own best enemies. Or our own bad bosses.
Again, just like I wrote there, it is worth mentioning that accepting this fact is a way to salvation.
And so, I decided to adjust my schedule to 5 weekly blog posts and two days of rest. Amen.