Yesterday I took the day off. Not only did I not allow myself to do any work, I attempted to completely avoid technology as well. As you’ll see below I wasn’t quite successful in this second quest but the day was still worth it.
Why take a whole day off?
It seems counterproductive when you’re really busy and have a lot to do to just stop and do nothing for a whole day but in reality it’s anything but that. When you don’t take the time to rest and switch off your productivity drops dramatically. Although you may always be doing something it can take you longer to do it and the quality of the work you produce may not be to your best standards if you are stressed and attempting to multitask too much.
By taking a day off to allow your batteries to recharge, you come back to the work with a clear head and focused on what you want to achieve. I find after taking a break I also tend to come back with a renewed passion and interest in whatever it was I’m trying to get done.
Another benefit of taking a day off, is it allows you to reflect on what you do and identify things that you do that are actually not being helpful and could be counterproductive. For example, I tend to crash out in front of the TV or browsing the internet when my brain fog sets in. If I actually take a rest instead I can return to my productive work quicker and with a clearer head.
A sample day of rest
As I mentioned above, and on social media yesterday, I took the day off and avoided technology to focus on rest and recovery.
What did my day look like?
6:30 AM – The cats woke me up
My husband is away this week, finishing a cycling tour of the Mawson Trail so the cats woke me instead to feed them. I managed to ignore them and get back to sleep for a while though.
7:20 AM – Up and feed the animals (cats and fish) followed by a 10 minute rest
7:30 AM – Breakfast
I made a container of coconut rice the day before so had some of that with fruit and honey for breakfast.
8:00 AM – Bath with a book (Seven Little Australians)
Due to pain levels on cold days I tend to spend a lot of my time in the bath. Yesterday was one of those days.
8:30 AM – 20 minute rest
8:50 AM – Snack
Because I was up so early, my energy levels were low so I had a few snacks throughout the day.
9:00 AM – 20 minute walk
This was a short but very slow walk around the block. Just because it was a day for rest didn’t mean it was OK for me to avoid all exercise. In order to manage my pain and fatigue levels I have to maintain a certain level of activity. In my normal daily life I currently don’t do any specific walks like this because I get my target step count or higher just doing tasks around the house. However, as I wasn’t doing housework I would not have met my target without a designated walk.
9:20 AM – Pot of tea and Journal
When I’m managing well I try to write in my journal daily, however life can get in the way. I hadn’t written in my journal since January so I spent some time reflecting over the changes that have occurred in the last few months.
9:50 AM – 20 minute rest
10:15 AM – Back in the bath with my book
As I said above, when the weather is cold and my pain levels high I tend to spend a lot of time in the bath. I don’t run a completely new bath though, just top up the water to make it warm again.
At this stage I actually finished my book.
12:00 PM – Lunch
For lunch I had left over pizza (gluten and dairy free) from dinner with friends the night before. At this point I did go on my phone for a little while just to get an update from my husband as to how their trip was going.
12:50 PM – 40 minute rest
This was my big rest for the day. On any day I tend to crash in the afternoon. I normally try to hold our until at least 1 pm, usually 2 – 3 pm then put the TV on and crash on the couch.
1:30 PM – Woke up and Snack
1:50 PM – Yoga
As well as my step count I do daily yoga stretches to reduce pain levels. This is mainly the pelvic stretches discussed in my routines post last week.
2:05 PM – Hot Chocolate and a book (Kitchen Table Sustainability)
This book could technically count as doing work, as the information is useful for the development of my ideas, but it is a book I’ve been trying to read for a while and as I’d finished my fiction book I decided to read some of this one instead of starting another new book.
3:15 PM – Clean Kitchen
I know it was meant to be a complete day of rest but I had come back the day before from a night away and had bags of food and cooking appliances that had been used while we were away. To be able to make dinner I had to clear the bench space so I washed the dishes and put away the food.
By this stage I was really struggling with just wanting to crash on the couch with the TV on. I had made myself a promise to have a technology free day so I held out on myself.
3:45 PM – Visit a Neighbour
As I was struggling with a desire to crash on the couch and just rest, I decided a day off was a good opportunity to begin to foster better relationships with my neighbours. I really want to feel like I’m part of a strong knit community but in the 7+ years we’ve been in our house I only know a few of the neighbours to the extent of waving hello.
Recently a friend’s parents moved in 2 houses up from us so I decided to visit them yesterday and introduce myself properly.
I spent 2 hours at their house having a cup of tea and a chat. I found out that my friend’s mother has fibromyalgia as well so it was great to chat to her about what she does to manage her symptoms.
** Confession time: The TV was on in the background while I was there.
6:00 PM – Dinner
I threw a few vegetables (onion, baby spinach, mushroom, capsicum, chilli and garlic) in a pan to saute and gluten free gnocchi in a pot.
6:30 PM – Bath and book
By this stage I really just wanted to collapse in front of the TV or go to bed. I decided it was too early for bed and I was still attempting to avoid TV so I made myself read a bit more of my book in the bath. I found myself struggling to read though so I wasn’t in there very long.
7:00 PM – Attempt to go to bed
I was exhausted and thought I would fall straight to sleep but as usual I just couldn’t get comfy.
7:10 PM – TV ON!!!
After attempting to get to sleep for 10 minutes I realised it just wasn’t going to happen. Not only was it a little early but my husband wasn’t home. Normally when he’s not home I have the TV on for noise in the background when I attempt to fall asleep. I gave in and put it on.
I also ended up taking a sleeping tablet as I didn’t manage to get to sleep until after 1 AM.
As you can see, even a rest day can be busy. The idea though is to do activities that recharge your batteries, not ones that drain them further.
Although I didn’t quite manage the whole day technology free, limiting my exposure to technology did maintain my energy levels slightly higher than on a normal day filled with the internet, tv and phone.
Yesterday was the first day in many, many months that could be classified as an OK day for me (not bad or crash) so obviously I need to do this type of thing more often.
What do you do to rest?
Do you ever take a whole day to just relax and do nothing?