Having a day off can’t include work (even if it’s creative work)

This morning I decided to commit to giving myself a day off today, so I’m writing about it to make sure it happens. This blog is all about how I’m changing my life; giving myself permission to relax and take time off is one of the big changes I want to make.

I can’t even visualise what a day off looks like

This morning I was writing in my journal about my day off. I realised I couldn’t actually picture such a day. Sure, I can take time off if I’m away somewhere but a day off when I’m home by myself? The only time I can imagine that is a day I’m feeling ill or exhausted. As I wrote recently, I normally only take time off when my body forces me to.

If the word work appears in something you can't do it on a day off.

I actually had to ask myself if I could do creative work on a day off. I decided to opt for the mantra “if the word work appears in something you can’t do it on a day off”. Seems to be logical.

When I worked 9-5 my weekends were filled with work

When I left uni I set up the theatre company I still run and all my spare time was spent on that. Five years on and my ‘time off’ from work (the day job) has always been filled with work. This is why the concept of a day off is so alien to me.

It’s in my nature to push for what I want, to work hard in pursuit of my dreams. But now my dream encapsulates living a happier life AND changing the way our society thinks about things like work, happiness and wellbeing.

Time to work hard at having time off

I know that taking time off, for you, away from your work is so important for overall wellbeing. Also you’re more likely to produce better work if you take time away from it. I recognise my current pattern isn’t healthy and want to give myself adequate time off during my week.

For now I’m deciding to follow the weekend structure and give myself two full days off per week. This morning I wrote a list of things I’m not allowed to do today:

No workshopping yoga poses for teacher training (but yoga practice is fine)

No learning new blogging things/tinkering with my blog

No active creative work on current theatre projects (if my brain thinks of something relevant that’s okay, but I can’t actively pursue that)

No theatre project/company admin

Not doing anything I feel I should do over something I want to do. No work!

That’s a whole lot of ‘No’ , but it does mean I can say ‘Yes’ to whatever I feel like I want to do. It just might take some time to figure that out.

Even writing this now I’m feeling a little panic setting in. Questions of what am I going to do with my time? Should I watch a TV show, or should I read? Are sneaking in. Again it’s the desire to fill my time the best possible way I can. Time to take a breath and dive into taking time off. If you’re working through something similar, or perhaps you had a great day off recently I would love to hear about it in the comments below. 

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

2 comments on “Having a day off can’t include work (even if it’s creative work)

  1. I love a day off! One where I can wake up (late) and realise I have nothing scheduled at all. I listen to audiobooks and might go to cafe by myself and listen to my book while enjoying a coffee and a cake.

    • Ah, see I can’t wake up late (or if I do I get stressed out). But I’m accepting that I’m a morning person and that’s okay. Haven’t tried audiobooks yet, but have been enjoying walking and listening to podcasts recently.

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