I struggle with allowing myself to take time off. For as long as I can remember I have existed in a cycle of go-go-go-go-go-crash-rest (very briefly)-go-go-go-go-go-crash-rest (very briefly)-go-go-go-go-go… While not necessarily healthy, it is the pattern I have slipped into and quasi-comfortably existed within for the majority of my adult life. On the rare occasions that I have allowed myself to take time off I have been riddled with feelings of guilt instead of relaxation. I find that I am filled with feelings of not being worthy of time off. In my mind I haven’t worked hard enough or accomplished enough to warrant time off.
About a month ago I started to feel really burnt out, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I felt overwhelmed and exhausted all the time. I found myself dreading all of my responsibilities, even the ones the usually bring me great joy and fulfillment. I was dragging my feet and going through the motions, but not fully engaging, experiencing, or learning from anything I was doing. I had some major fears and apprehensions. I do not get paid vacation or sick days so I would be losing a considerable chunk of income. Several of the yoga classes I teach have begun to attract larger numbers of students with a group of new students who are slowly becoming regulars and actively working to connect with me. Would they be turned off by my absence and stop coming to classes? After scrutinizing my bank account and putting my teacher’s ego into check I decided that taking care of myself far outweighed all my fears and apprehensions.
I am now at the tail end of my weeklong staycation. I have not allowed myself to schedule anything. I have not allowed myself to feel guilty. I have puttered around my apartment tending to cleaning and organizing projects that I never seemed to find time for. I have spent time in the kitchen cooking and baking. I have spent a lot of time playing with my cat and cuddling with her in sun patches throughout the apartment. I have read. I have spent time writing. I have meditated. I have practiced gentle and restorative yoga. I have spent time doing nothing. I don’t feel quite ready to leave my little cocoon of unscheduled, ungoal oriented time. I do, however, feel prepared to make some small changes to my schedule that I think will result in huge impacts on my overall sense of wellbeing. I also feel prepared to allow myself to take time off again in the near future. Time off isn’t something to be earned. It isn’t a reward. I will never feel as though I have done enough to deserve time off, so I can’t continue to view it in that way. Time off is a necessity. It is a time to recharge, regroup, and recenter. If I want to be fully present in my life and find fulfillment in the things I do I must allow myself periods of downtime