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A Day Off? What's That?

If you run your own business (or you have other reasons), you know what this is like. 

You work 7 days a week, 8+ hours a day (but usually 12+ hours a day), and never can take any time off. If you take a day, or even just half a day off,  you feel the pressure and guilt about all the work that you're not getting done.

When you run an indie business, especially if you don't have a partner, all of the pressure is on you, all of the time. If you take time off, there is nobody else to pick up the slack. The work that you are not doing that day is still there the next day, which usually means that taking a day off leaves double the work the next day, and double the hours needed to catch up.

It builds up and it keeps on building, leaving the feeling, "A day off? What's that?"

This might be something that you say. I used to say the same thing for years. It may even be something you're proud of. I know I was. Being a hard worker is definitely a positive thing. Working towards a goal is good. Accomplishing things you set out to do is great. Creating something out of nothing is gratifying.

But like everything, there needs to be a balance.

All the days, and all the years, of overworking and under resting myself, rarely taking time off and trading work for sleep many nights, finally caught up to me. My body took what I was doing, and mentally, emotionally, and physically stopped me. It could just no longer take it. 

Taking a Break in the WoodsBeing forced to stop, on all levels, was a tough thing to deal with, but one of the best things to ever happen to me. I had to make changes. I started by cutting out anything I could. I took a break from my part-time job (which ended up turning into a permanent leave), and stopped doing anything work-wise that didn't directly relate to getting Wunder Budder straight to the people who loved it. I started saying "no" to some things, whether they were business-related, social, or personal. I started to find my own limits. I started to change my life.

Learning to take time off was difficult, but the more I did it, the easier it became. I liked having more time to do other things I loved. I began doing yoga daily (instead of on the rare occasion like I had for so many years), began reading books for fun again, starting (and finishing!) crochet and other projects, and once I got a dog, started taking a few walks a day. 

I still work on most days, but now it's just because I love my job, not because I feel like everything will fall apart if I take a day off. I've also found that taking more breaks has allowed me to get same amount of work done in less time because I'm more motivated and more able to focus. I take daily breaks, and sometimes whole weekends to rest, and I do it without guilt, knowing how important it is to find balance.

And I never have to say, "A day off? What's that?"