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!
4 thoughts on “Forced Leisure”
This post speaks to me. I find that I also hit walls that seem to come out of nowhere at times. I LOVE lists, and planners, and PRODUCTIVITY…and then crash. For me, long bouts of time staring out at the view from my backyard are the most restful. Happy to hear you’re rested and feeling better.
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Yes! I knew it wasn’t just me. It’s crazy how fast it can creep up on you. I have lots of yard to stare out at and a gorgeous view, so I should probably take more advantage of that. Thanks for the tip!
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Haha, I’m reading this as I’m confined to bed with severe neck and back pain. We got hit with a huge life setback recently that has forced me to take on more responsibilities at home than normal and put many of my small business endeavors on hold. I’ve been driving myself pretty hard and think the Lord is trying to send me a strong message. “You won’t stop and rest in Me? Now you don’t have a choice.” I’m sure a big part of this pain is from anxiety and a lack of rest and I’m thankful that Jesus is so good in allowing me to deal with the consequences of my poor choices. We need to be ready to listen and recognize when He is trying to get our attention!
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Ha! Yep, that’s exactly what he was telling me during that month. Hope you get better soon! It can be so hard to rest, especially when it feels like there isn’t room for it in your life, but it’s so, so necessary.