Friday, February 08, 2008

Finding My Way

This new life of not working full-time presents many of its own unique challenges. When one does not simply need to report to work every day at the same time, then one must realize that a great deal of thought must be given as to what one is doing when. Juggling various employment responsibilities and home-based business ventures then becomes one's full-time job. The problem with not "punching a clock", as it were, is that the self-employed person must then make choices as to when one is actually "working". The temptation is to always be thinking about work, planning work, making up invoices, drumming up work, and otherwise focusing on it 24/7. If this is the case, then it begs the question, "So, what's better about this scenario, anyway?"

For myself, I'm finding that I actually need to start scheduling "down time" wherein I have nothing to do and in which I explicitly deny myself the ability to do anything work-related. This entails blocking out my calendar for periods of "doing nothing" and then taking the reins of those hours by choosing a self-care activity for that period of time. Whether it be reading, napping, drawing, going to a museum or listening to music, those hours must be used for self-care and healing, otherwise I will most certainly fill them with activity and busy-ness, eschewing self-care for "productivity".

Today, with back pain flaring and physical discomfort at the forefront of my mind, getting someone to cover my hospice shift for tomorrow was my paramount activity. Luckily, a thoughtful colleague took my shift and I will spend some time truly caring for myself tomorrow, and severe pain is something that simply screams "Healer, heal thyself."

With the physical pain has come some grieving that still needs to be processed from losses incurred these last few years. Perhaps as grief slowly heals and changes, the areas of my body that hold such severe pain will begin to release. Until then, self-care must be a constant focus, or leaving my full-time job to decrease stress will have been a wasted and fruitless effort, and that, I must say, would be inexcusable.

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