My husband says that I am a workaholic. It’s a fair depiction of my nature, however much I protest. I have lots of vacation, but I take it sporadically.
There is a process for getting into vacation mode.
The Day Before
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important. ~Bertrand Russell
What is it about us that would have us try to get a month’s worth of work done in the two days before vacation? There is the desk we want impeccably neat, and the to-do list we want whittled down to nothing. I bemoan that I really shouldn’t take vacation, except that I haven’t for some time. I already postponed the first two days. I know by the very fact that I am spinning at a high speed that taking a vacation is a really good idea for my sanity and those around me. Taking a break might actually make me more effective I consider.
Is everything as urgent as your stress would imply? ~Carrie Latet
The first day of vacation is usually obsessing about everything I didn’t get done and need to get done, now. I wake up early, like a work day actually, going thru the list in my head. I check my email several times remotely and I call a number of individuals. Lesley, they say, aren’t you supposed to be on vacation? Yes, I say, but I forgot something. My poor assistant, Heather. I must have called her ten times that first day. In her usual style, she was upbeat, although she inserted many times – personal time, boss, personal time. I go to the garden and prune and weed big time. It feels cathartic. I chase Merlin, who has stolen one of Jim’s hats.
Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths. ~Etty Hillesum
The anxiety lessens. I sleep in a few hours more. I wake up thinking I will take all those black plastic pots I have and plant cuttings to sell. I cut the phone calls to work in half. I check email once, although I get a few strays in my home email box (stupid me, I asked for it). Everyone is telling me all is well. I am having thoughts that I am never doing enough or working fast enough. More cause for vacation. I remember someone telling me that the inbox will always be full, so give it up. It works for five minutes. I take several deep breaths and repeat this mantra: It will all work out. It will all work out. I clean my desk that looks out to the garden, and then I walk thru the garden. The black plastic pots sit in the corner of my outdoor work area. I had proclaimed the day before that Day Two was garden day, but I did very little. Merlin steals another hat, but I am not taking the bait.
The tomatoes are ready for the picking. My hope rises.
Ask me tomorrow.