The Importance of Downtime

*Reprinted with permission from the Boozy Gardener (who did manage to create a better schedule--in winter 2020). Originally published April 2019.

Once upon a time, there was a productive woman named The Boozy Gardener. She worked a demanding 40+ hour a week job, had a side gig as a freelance writer and editor, ran a blog, cared for friends and family, woke up early to draft her novel and had three dogs.

When The Boozy Gardener told her dog she was considering fostering, this was the dog’s reaction.

The foster dog, Ophelia, had had a tough life. Her owner, who was a homeless man, had abandoned her in an empty house.

The Boozy Gardener loved this dog as soon as they met. The dog was kind and sweet and had obviously had a tough life.

There was a problem, though. Ophelia was not house-trained, and she had massive separation anxiety. After destroying the Boozy Gardener's home and several pairs of shoes, the Boozy Gardener bought her a cage that Ophelia broke out of several days in a row.

She was house trained quickly, and the Boozy Gardener's long-suffering BF helped her fix the cage. However, the carpet was left stained and stinky in every room in the house. The Boozy Gardener and her BF tore it out, put in new flooring and repainted (Ophelia hadn't done anything to the walls, but in for a penny, as they say).

Ophelia said she’d get a job to pay for the flooring.

At this same time, work was going insane for the Boozy Gardener. She had a number of events she was producing and running, as well as several projects--both for her full-time employment and side gigs.

After a particularly rough week, the Boozy Gardener just crashed. She spent two full days on her couch, playing Resident Evil 2 and reading a tell-all memoir about Scientology. Her best friends messaged her, and she could not work up the energy to respond to them.

While less than ideal, this experience taught me (the above-named Boozy Gardener) a valuable lesson. This year is all about rebooting to my true self, which means I am accepting myself for who I am: both my gifts and my shortcomings.

This has manifested in a lot of ways. I have an open, helpful heart, which often leads me to taking on tasks and work that I cannot handle emotionally (or in the case of Ophelia--physically and mentally). Instead of beating myself up and wishing I was different, I've simply accepted it. I can help people and animals with my other gifts and make everyone happier in the process.

As my weekend breakdown demonstrates, I am still navigating my limitations and am still trying to create a more manageable schedule (it should come summer 2019!). The great news, though, is that I no longer beat myself up if I need downtime. If my body needs a weekend of couch time, I take it. In the past, I would have kept working until I collapsed from illness, but no more.

Also, Ophelia is getting the hang of her kennel and is fully house trained! She's a smart cookie. (*Update! Ophelia found her perfect furever home about a month after this blog was published).

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