When a Day Off Backfires

One of the things that I’m not very good at is taking a day off. Part of that is the pressure of running my own business and trying to make ends meet. Partly, it’s because I have a great routine that supports my well-being but means I can only work a maximum of 4 or 5 hours a day (less on days when I have something extra to do in my day to day life, like shopping or laundry). Because I have to rest so much every day, I also want to get on with things every day! Partly, it’s because I get great satisfaction out of my work and the learning involved in running my own business. However, last week I was reminded of the importance of taking a day off by my social entrepreneur support group and as I had a particularly heavy week ahead running a free online program, I decided that it would be a good idea.

I was determined to make it a relaxing and spirit lifting day. I had a lie in, then after my morning practices had an aromatherapy bath. I went for a lovely walk, taking it very easy and stopping often to take photos of the gorgeous autumn colours. I had a short rest before lunch with a friend in very quiet restaurant (it’s off-season and we were the only customers during most of our meal). I then spent the rest of the day resting until my Sevillana dance class later that evening. I didn’t even have to cook my dinner as I had a portion of soup left over from the day before. I thought I’d had the ideal relaxing day. However, by mid-afternoon the next day the bottom fell out of my energy and I’ve been in a crash ever since!

Looking back on it I can see that it was because I did two physical things in one day (the walk and the dance class) both of them are things that stretch my physical energy close to the edge of safety. I usually know this, but I’d been so totally relaxed and uplifted that day It didn’t even occur to me that there was a risk! Also, because the day didn’t follow my usual routine it was harder to gauge what I could and couldn’t do. However much I might get bored or frustrated with my routine, I know it keeps me safe!

For me the trouble with a day off is that it’s so difficult to feel spirit lifted and satisfied without doing too much. Every day I have to spend a lot of time resting in order to be able to do what I do. I’ve learned to be grateful for the distractions that make rest more enjoyable. But doing more of that on a day off is the opposite of spirit lifting, without including something fun too. I thought that I could spend 4 hours of work energy on an hour’s walking. But actually, for the most part, my work is fairly low energy and the maths just didn’t compute, especially when you add an hour’s dancing later on.

Whenever something goes wrong though my purpose for reflecting on it, is to learn:day off backfires pin

Maybe the problem is that I had such high expectations for my day off? Maybe if I took one more often, I wouldn’t feel compelled to make it a perfect day.

Maybe I need to follow my usual routine a little more closely even when I have a day off, doing something sedentary and creative during the hours I normally work. The trouble is I can’t think of anything sedentary and creative that would be as rewarding as the sedentary creative things I do to help people and get my message out. But maybe I just need to open up a bit an give something new a try?

I definitely know that I need to keep to only one physical activity on my day off.

I guess the other problem is that the last time I took a day off I probably could have managed all I did without crashing. My baseline has taken a knock since the autumn season change and I just haven’t yet got back the great (relatively speaking) energy levels I had in the summer. I’ve adapted my daily routine and it’s kept me safe up until now. But however frustrating it may be, stepping away from that routine is full of risks.

Who’d think that taking a day off could be such a minefield?

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2 thoughts on “When a Day Off Backfires”

  1. Your article illustrates really well that it is such a fine balance managing this illness, thank you! I am sometimes told I’ve been ‘silly’ when I’ve overdone things, as others don’t realise how difficult it is to get the balance just right.

  2. Thank you Annie, It certainly is a challenge to find the right balance. I’m sorry that you get judged as silly when you don’t. I’m hoping that you have a strong kind voice that tells yourself that you are doing your best!


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