Forced Leisure

I spent most of June in bed.

That’s a weird thing to admit, especially for me. Usually, I bounce up and have a full day planned before I’m even dressed. I can’t remember the last time I was legitimately bored and could think of nothing to do. I have my books, my writing, my garden, my woods, my family—I’m almost always short on time but never short on projects.

Unfortunately, that has caught up to me.

With all my projects, my podcasts, my deadlines, my lessons, and my routines, the one thing I neglect on a daily basis is rest. Quiet. Stillness. Time for my body and brain to recharge. Time to be alone and, more importantly, to be silent. Not learning something new, not forcing more productivity. Just time to be.

And in June, my body let me know it.

Basically, I came home from my road trip with the flu. I rested, quarantined, was tested for Covid (negative, thank goodness), and figured I’d be better in a day or two.

Only I wasn’t. The flu part went away after a week at home, and I was able to attend my sister’s wedding and meet a deadline for one of scripts. I was no longer ‘sick’, and could spend time with my family without worrying about spreading anything.

But I couldn’t get out of bed. My ‘to-do’ list—which is usually so exciting for me because I’m a nerd and I love lists—became an impossible mountain of things no one in their right mind would want to do, like laundry and making food and showering.

Who wants to shower when you can just lie in bed and not move instead?

As much as it was a complete shock to be so completely knocked off my game, it also . . . wasn’t. In some ways, I’d known it was coming. Between the whirl of starting my own business, the stress of leaving my job, transitioning to working for myself, setting my own hours, and juggling multiple projects instead of focusing on one, I’d burnt myself out.


Did I mention I’m bad at rest? I’m bad at rest. And a creative who can’t stop to listen to the silence, stare out the window, and take the time to watch the sunrise instead of hurrying through a list of to-do’s is headed straight for burn out. Which means lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, and wondering why making dinner sounds nearly as hard as tackling a bull.

Thankfully, June is long over. My energy has slowly, slowly come back. Not all at once, but day by day. I can get out of bed, I can write. Starting this blog again feels like an enormous victory. My bathroom is clean. So is my yard.

But a month in bed has reminded me that I’m not invincible. I’m not a productivity machine. I’m not meant for to-do lists longer than my arm and work days that never end.

So I’m taking moments again. Time to sit on my porch. Time to swim with my nephew. Time to be still. Trying to choose moments to rest instead of waiting until it’s forced on me.

We’ll see how it goes.

What activities are restful for you? Tell me about them in the comments!