The value of downtime

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life15 Comments

I have never considered myself to be a person who has difficulty relaxing.

I have this idea about myself that I approach everything with equal focus and passion. If I’m working, then I’m really working. If I’m cleaning my house, then I’m really getting down and dirty and getting the job done. If I’m cooking, I’m usually savoring every chop, simmer, and seasoning. And I can binge watch a television series with the best of them.

But the last few weeks have shown me just how little downtime I have been embracing this past year. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t work 80 hour weeks. That only happens on rare instances and usually the reason why is because of poor planning on my part. But I am definitely realizing that I don’t take time off nearly as much as I probably should.

Working for myself, there is only vacation time if much preparation has gone into place. I have taken vacations over the past decade, albeit not very many, but I am capable of planning to be away from this computer and this office where so much of my life is spent.

The other thing that complicates active downtime is that I love what I do. Sometimes when I am working on a new class, or designing some new products, or working on a new scrapbook layout, I lose track of time. Do you know how grateful I am that I lose track of time while doing my job? I’m no fool to know that is a gift.

I think that’s what makes taking time off difficult for me, because I want to keep doing this. I don’t want to dust off my resume. I don’t want to have to wear a bra every day. I don’t want to make small talk in the office break room. And I definitely don’t want to share the office refrigerator only to find my yogurt has been taken yet again.

So I think this is why my present injury is challenging my beliefs about myself and how I work. During the past few weeks of re-figuring out how to create an effective workflow, I’m realizing just how at home I am when I’m working. I am realizing how hard it is for me to walk away and just chill and not be constantly doing.

Dan and I like to joke about that phrase, I’m a human being not a human doing. And as funny as I think that it is, however cliché, I think I’m much more of a human doing, and not that it’s a bad thing, but it’s definitely something I need to put into a more balanced perspective.

That’s what’s floating around my head this morning. That, and the fact that I only have 15 more days until the hard cast comes off.

p.s. Be sure to check back tomorrow for a fun, free holiday cut file that just might work in your holiday albums specifically your December Daily albums. Apparently I can design cut files one-handed with no problem.







Cathy ZielskeThe value of downtime

15 Comments on “The value of downtime”

  1. #1

    Love this and love that as the years go by we can continue to learn things about ourselves. Thanks for sharing and hope the healing goes quickly.

  2. #2

    So glad you are getting some down time and realizing you need more than you’ve been taking. I have the opposite problem–taking too much down time and not getting things done that are necessary. I have an organizer on the way to help so hope to bring that balance back to my life soon. I haven’t seen you mention exercise much lately. Are you still getting your steps in? I wondered if exercising/walking/whatever would help relieve some of your pent up frustration?

    1. #2.1
      Cathy Zielske

      When I am up and around by hand starts to swell so exercise is kind of not on the table this month.

  3. #3

    It’s nice to just kick back every now & then….maybe someone was trying to tell you that?

    Blessings, and have a hot cocoa on me!

  4. #4

    It is always so hard to find and keep the balance. We are constantly shown by media that doing is better than just being, but then we are told to listen to what our souls/bodies need and that it is okay to just be. I struggle with this daily.

  5. #5

    Love this message! My husband commented recently that he never sees me without a laptop, iPad or phone – open and ‘alive.’ Even when I’m comfy with a blanket in the recliner, watching TV, I still have a device attached to me. It can be work, volunteer projects, or fun – but I’m rarely unconnected. I definitely hear you loud and strong. Taking some time to just be is important! And your body especially craves, and deserves, that time right now. Deep breaths!

    1. #5.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I can relate to that, Sabrina. I too, seem to always have a laptop or my iPhone nearby even when I’m supposed to be relaxing. Definitely going to be working on being more aware of actually unplugging.

  6. #6

    I am also a human doing… always needing to have something I’m working on, reading, not wanting to just be… Being self employed, there’s always something to be doing and to just take some downtime is sooooo hard! Even when vacationing, I’m collecting reference photos for future paintings or we’re hitting galleries for inspiration (or in my husband’s case, shooting pics of signs everywhere we go!) I’m reading a book called “Minding The Muse: A handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators” by Priscilla Long, and in the first chapter she talks about celebrating when you’ve completed a piece — rewarding yourself in some way. Giving yourself a “deep rest” so you’re ready to go again. I wish I’d seen this book, and your post a year ago when I broke my right arm…! Yay you for being more accepting of your need for downtime — I’m still working on it…!

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