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Time out

A hand holding a small, black package that has Handle with care, fragile, thank you, on a sticker on it.
Image by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I’m not very good at relaxing.
I feel I always need to be doing something, usually work-related or business-related.

In my therapy sessions, this has come up a lot. The need to be productive, or the need to be seen to be productive or fear of being seen as lazy. This was instilled in me from a young age and seems to have continued into adulthood. Only getting a feeling of worth by doing something productive. I’m sure a lot of this feeling comes from Section 28, which I know you’ve seen me write about before. From being erased and invisibilised due to Section 28, perhaps it forced me to believe that I was only worthy if I was seen to be doing something. And I’m trying really hard to undo that.

Working from home, there’s always something to be done around the flat, as we all know – it’s never-ending. And yes, people may think that when I go to visit my mum, I get some kind of break. But that’s not the case. Nine times out of ten when I’m there, it’s to transport her to a medical appointment. And more often than not, I’ll have my laptop with me to work, and then there’s cleaning to do and all the other things that I do when I’m at home, but down at mum’s house. And then taking her out of the house, because I feel she doesn’t get out enough, and putting the wheelchair in the car so we can go to look at books (yes, both bookworms).

The last two holidays I had, one in Croatia with partner and friends, and one in Sussex with partner and my mum – both times with my laptop for work-related things. Even with an out-of-office on, I still check emails.

So this time, I’m trying to not. On Saturday, my partner and I are off out of the country, and I’m determined to relax and do nothing. Usually, when on holiday, I want to go places rather than just sit and ‘be’. So, I’ll be putting an out-of-office on, and I’m moving the apps on my devices to a far-distant screen, along with social apps. I’m taking books (one physical, and others on my device) and I’m determined to switch off, relax, and do nothing.

Because, as my therapist reminds me, there is worth in doing nothing. There is worth to me to recharge, switch off and just be me. I can’t always be on the go all the time. As what’s happened before, I’ve worked and worked until I’ve burned out, and then I’m no good to anyone. I’ve also started taking some time during the working week to get away from the desk and have maybe half an hour of reading. To be honest, recently it’s been easier because of Wimbledon. So, from Saturday for a week, I’ll attempt to be offline and uncontactable.

I’m writing this merely as a reminder to myself, and to anyone else who needs to hear it, that I need to take time out; to realise that I don’t need to be doing something all the time; that it’s essential to take a step back.

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