I’m still working like crazy on the altered sweatshirts/sweaters–not taking a break there. And not taking a break here, either. But I’m thinking about the value of Taking a Break, about how we all need to step back, regroup, catch our breath, and more. Yes, more: just getting your breath back after a long period of frantic work isn’t enough. You meet the deadline, get the show up, finish the canvas–whatever it is. And then you take half a day to clean the studio. Maybe you go to the movie. Have a lunch date. And in our culture, that’s supposed to be enough. You’re supposed to be refreshed, rejuvenated, ready to go back to work right after. If you’re not, you’re a slacker.
Sometimes, though, you need more. More time off, more time to think, more time for ideas to present themselves and for you, frankly, just to rest. Be. Breathe.
I am so not good at this, but I try. I’m trying to learn not to be busy every moment, and I’m encouraged by the stories of amazing creative and productive people who regularly take sabbaticals. Sure, that’s problematic for those of us who can’t really afford to take a vacation, much less a six-month leave, but it’s also encouraging to realize that whatever amount of time we can manage away from the desk or studio or easel doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll quit being productive and turn into sloths. Think about ways you can arrange some time off. Maybe it means working extra hours to get ahead by a couple days or a week so that you don’t have to worry about getting caught up when you come back–that’s the only thing that’s ever worked for me, and I recommend it if it’s possible. It’s so much easier to take a break when you know everything’s already covered.
I think for many of us it’s a mind-set. We’re wired from childhood to feel we have to be working, have to be producing, have to be making the music that is our life. It’s like our lives are symphonies, and we’re always rushing to write the next movement and the one after that. What we have to realize in adulthood is that it’s the spaces between the notes that make the music beautiful, and that an intermission brings everyone back refreshed.
Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.
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