The Importance of Rest
"Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares from which will not withdraw from us." --Maya Angelou
Despite being an introvert and a bit of a hermit, life always finds a way keep me busy and strapped for time. Because I have a day job, my evenings are on an extremely strict schedule: exercise, shower, eat, write, edit. After that, I can play video games, read, or whatever I feel like or have time for. It irritates me when things come up that throws this schedule out of whack, because I then have to figure out how to make up for the lost time. I only recently added exercise to the mix, and now that it's in place, I will do whatever I can to keep it there.
But sometimes, even though I feel like every item on my schedule is important, I find myself longing to just have an evening of nothing. No schedule, no pressing deadline, just me and whatever I feel like doing.
It is my belief this is my soul's way of saying, "Rest. Relax. Just take a moment to breathe."
It's tough for me to accept this, because I already feel like my day is stolen by my day job. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for it. It pays my bills and feeds me and is necessary. But it takes so many hours out of my day, causing the remaining few to become even more precious.
The result is that I wake up every morning exhausted, hating to give my hours to a day job, and then stay up later than I should in order to complete every item on my evening schedule. Rinse and repeat. After a while, it takes a toll.
With so little time for writing already, the idea of taking a night off doesn't sit well with me. But with my day job comes vacation, and it's expected that I will use it. Why, then, would it be any different with my writing? If I'm treating my writing like a job, why would it not also have vacation? Just because I love it doesn't mean I don't need a break every now and then.
It would be easier if I were writing full time, because then a vacation would be natural. It's because my writing exists in those precious evening hours that I'm so unwilling to rest. And the kicker? Even if I do rest, I feel guilty and worthless. If I'm not writing, am I wasting my time? How can I ever expect to publish another book if I don't write? Even if it's only for a single night, these thoughts niggle at me.
I don't have a magic solution for this, and even though I know how important rest is, how much better I feel when I actually do it, I still fight it and struggle with it. Maybe one of you out there feels the same way. Maybe you've even figured out a way to deal with it. If so, please share. For me, it's back to work.
"There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither." --Alan Cohen