I run my own business and I’m deeply grateful for the freedom it allows. I like being able to make every decision for myself—from the seemingly small details of daily work to the big picture goals of where I want my career to grow. But working for myself is definitely not easy. Some days I wish I had an experienced HR department to turn to with my many questions. Other days I envy friends who work for large corporations and who appear to have it all figured out. When it comes down to it, though, I love learning how to figure it all out on my own. It’s a work-in-progress, but it’s my work-in-progress.
One lesson I’ve learned recently is the importance of rest. I don’t mean productive rest, which for me looks like reading a food magazine or doing some good thinking while driving to LA. I’m referring to full-on rest, the act of doing nothing. I try to structure my workday around banker’s hours, but I usually feel like my work never really ends. If I didn’t schedule in rest alongside my other responsibilities, it would be easy to skip over it entirely. And it doesn’t help that our society demeans resting with sayings like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I know it can seem indulgent to rest when there’s so much to do, and it’s not always possible to find time for rest. In fact, it’s a privilege to be able to rest. For years I wasn’t sure I could step away from work, and the financial risks honestly still worry me. However, as counterintuitive as it may sound, I believe that rest makes for better work.
Last week, after two rush projects wrapped up, I took the chance to do absolutely nothing for several days. I watched the new season of Jane the Virgin from start to finish. I went for a long, slow walk every afternoon. I hardly cooked at all. Now I’m back at my desk and feeling refreshed and ready to tackle upcoming projects. I don’t know when I’ll have the next chance to rest as much as I did during these days out of the office, but I do know that whenever that chance comes, I’ll try to push back against any worries and greet the opportunity with open arms.