Over the past few months my energy levels have been quite up and down. Every so often I feel like they’ve stabilised but after a week or two I have another slump. Earlier in the year I realised that one reason for this was my 100 Days of Hand Lettering project.
I worked on 100 Days of Patterns last year with no problems but this year I didn’t set any boundaries for my project, which resulted in me trying to create a finished (often digitised) piece of work every single day.
That would have been exhausting for anyone but it’s a really bad thing to do when you live with a chronic illness that limits your energy. I was planning my weeks and making sure I only did 1-3 things each day but sometimes just one of those things would take hours to complete and I wasn’t taking that into account.
So from this week I’m doing 2 new things:
- Planning my days in 1 hours chunks of time
- Including rest time in my plan
One hour chunks seem like an easy way to divide up the day, and it might be that some things that I do don’t take a full hour. But it creates a bit of breathing space so my plan doesn’t feel too regimented. So I might put ‘drawing’ into one chunk of my day but only spend 20 minutes drawing, giving me the rest of that hour to potter or pack my art materials away. I’m working on the assumption that things will take much longer than I might assume and creating room for that.
Something that I’m not very good about including in my days is rest. Now and again when I feel tired I’ll decide on the spur of the moment to take a nap but I don’t take pre-emptive rest. In other words, I don’t rest as a way to avoid overdoing things, but only when I feel like I’ve already done too much.
So my focus this week is to schedule (and take) one hour of rest every single day. That might be a nap, sitting down with my feet up, doing some very gentle restorative yoga (lying down) or something else that allows me to take a break and relax. 2 boundaries I’ve set for myself with this are:
- My rest has to be for at least 1 hour
- It cannot involve any screen time – so no watching Netflix, or scrolling through stuff on my phone.
I’ll re-assess things at the end of this week and see what worked well and what could be improved. Right now I don’t have a planner so I wrote down all the things I want to do in my notebook and then created a wall chart for the week.
Scheduled rests feel like a good way to take better care of myself right now. Rather than trying to produce as much work as I possibly can, I’m focusing on trying to keep myself as well as I possibly can so that I’m able to live and produce work in a healthier, more sustainable way.
What could you do to take better care of yourself this week?