For a long time I hoarded time off - I don't know why. Maybe I was subconsciously preparing for a time when I couldn't work; I really don't know. Now I have about a month coming (which I can't take all at once.) So I took a couple of extra days on this Labor Day weekend; I'll take a few more at the end of a conference I'm attending in October.
What I've realized over the last few years is that I need regular, extended breaks. Even though my medications keep me relatively healthy, there is still a lot I need to learn, a lot I don't do well, and life is simply more tiring than it would be if I had always been well, if I was better at dealing with people and situations.
I know, too, that I tend to lose my focus, or my perspective, if I don't take time for mental tune-ups. When I get to the point when work is keeping me awake at night, when I'm digging into clothes I haven't worn in months because everything is in a pile to be ironed, when I haven't eaten anything but frozen food or take-out in over a week - then it's time to take a break. I've lost focus, I'm running too fast in too many directions, things are piling up, and I've lost track of what's important.
I haven't really done much with this break -- some ironing, a lot of reading, some movies. Not as much writing as I expected, and probably more napping than was strictly necessary. (I finally finished Anna Karenina!)
Today, the fifth and last of my days off, I'm finally feeling a little peace. Whatever has been chasing me is quieted for now. I am rested; I can think. I can smile. I just now realized that I haven't been smiling lately.
I just bought some music by a new performer, Zee Avi, so I have something to listen to this afternoon if the temperature stays reasonable and I feel like finishing the ironing. In the meantime, I'm going to visit the bookstore, buy too many books, and take a notebook to the Japanese restaurant down the street, where I can drink sake, have lunch, and make notes.
In the next day or two I'll write about the priorities that floated to the top during this break.