Can you ever stop when you work from home? When clients rely on you for your work and your family relies on you for food and clean underwear, can you really stop?
And if you did stop, what would you do? Could you actually do nothing? What does “stopping” look like?
I’ve been trying to stop. It’s taken me a week to work out how.
Lessons learnt from a minor ailment:
Working from your bed isn’t the thing to do, despite what I tried to tell you. Sleeping in your bed is a much better idea. It’s actually not possible to do decent work when you feel inhuman, and as well as potentially making yourself worse, you’re simply wasting time that you could be spending recovering. And quite possibly making stupid mistakes that you’ll have to fix later. (Of course I would never do this. Ahem.)
If someone offers to help, say yes. Whether it’s the school run, making dinner, doing the shopping – if someone else is able do it, and is volunteering to do it, say yes even if you think you could probably manage. Don’t even think about saying to yourself, “but I should be able to cope”. Says who?
If they don’t volunteer, ask. They’re only not volunteering because they don’t realise you need the help, because you always manage. Don’t be a martyr.
Giving yourself time off is hard. That’s why you need to take more of it than you think. I promised myself I’d take at least four days off to recover and spent two of them working the whole time because I just couldn’t switch off. Now I’ve got that out of my system, though, I’m beginning to work out what “stopping” involves. I just spent a whole day pottering: walking, writing, reading, trying to sleep (this one still needs practice) and a good helping of staring at the sky. I saw a fox on my travels and did a lot of not thinking.
Perhaps you can’t do as much work as you think you can. Not forever, anyway. Or maybe just not now. Not if you want to be well and to notice and enjoy the spring that’s just beginning. Perhaps it’s time to stop, just for a while, until you work out how much work is enough work.