I have been especially busy this last year, but increasingly the last 3 months as I worked to finish my new cookbook. As I have worked long hours in the kitchen and on the computer, I’ve thought about what I want in life, and what I think about this season of my life. I have about a week and a half before my book is turned into the publisher (hence all of the guest posts lately!). And after that, I plan on taking a break from extra projects. I need rest.
I have decided with absolute clarity, that this type of full, work-all-the-time-life is not sustainable long-term. I would get run down completely if I had to do this year in, year out. To make my life more challenging, both of my girls caught this nasty cough the last 3 weeks (it isn’t the whooping cough, apparantly, but a similarly long cough). My 21 month old was waking up often because of it, and we have had more late nights than I care to remember these last three weeks. After a couple of weeks of little sleep, insomnia has become an issue as my body is quite confused in its sleep cycle. That has made it especially exciting when I am already so busy.
Yet, I am not sure I would never want a busy time period. As much as the last few months have been too busy, there are benefits to that busyness. My mother-in-law shared, during a busy season of her life, that while she advocated and wanted to live a more simple life, that there are also seasons of “harvesting.” She likened it to the farmer’s busy days of bringing in the harvest and the long hours they would spend from day’s first light, to its final glimpse. This would be unsustainable long-term, but it was only a season of their life. Soon would come the winter, with forced inactivity indoors, resting.
I remember a favorite book from my childhood called The Good Master. The book took place on a Hungarian farm and you certainly saw that cycle of very busy, and very restful. In one chapter, the winter months are described as a time of story telling, sitting by the fire, and doing restful work around the house while snowed in the house. It sounds lovely.
Without the hectic, busy, hard work season, there would be no harvest. This busy season of mine is hopefully going to produce something of worth – a helpful, delicious cookbook. But I need that winter season as well. Since my work isn’t regulated by the weather, I have to self-regulate. And that can be hard to do. I suspect that this is the same for many of us. We can fill our lives with a variety of activities, and “good stress”. The fact is, we like full, busy lives and that is a good thing.
But we should also learn to enjoy the quiet, the calm, and the restful too. I think that it is important for our health. We need rest. My occasional insomnia is making that clear! But more than just sleep at night (which is very important), we need days of rest too. The traditional practice of having one day of rest a week is wise for our health, but yet so hard to actually accomplish. There is always something else to do. For those in ministry, or with a spouse in ministry, the weekend can be even more busy, rather than more restful.
What can end up happening is being in a “harvest” season of life continually; Working long hours, without a break. This is hardly healthy as we weren’t made to withstand constant long hours year round, and I don’t think it will lead to a happy life either. It is not just about the bottom line of making money, doing the most activities with our children, or whatever else fills your time. If we don’t have time to rest and enjoy each other’s company, we miss out on some of the best things of life.
And so, with my book soon to be finished, I am looking forward to at least a “short” winter phase of resting and enjoying my family. And, because I find blogging a restful thing to do, I will share some of that phase with you too. I am jointing down ideas in how to make my food preparation the least amount of work as possible with plenty of nutrition.
I can’t wait. Now, I just need to make it through the next week and a half.
Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you! How do you balance work and rest in your life?
Photo Credit: Cliff1066/Flickr
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I struggle with that balance a lot. I work from home, and if I’m working I feel like I should be paying attention to my kids and when I’m playing iwth my kids I feel like I should be working! I can’t sit down and watch a movie with my husband unless there is no clutter visible or I will end up cleaning instead of relaxing. I’ve been thinking I need to work more camping trips or unplugged vacations in so that I have a “forced” rest!
It can be hard to relax in a cluttered house. While I believe it is important to keep general order in the house (though mine isn’t ordered right now!), I think it is also important to learn the art of relaxation in an imperfect house too. So hard for many of us to do. Forced vacations work. 😉
In Chinese medicine the energy in your body is supposed to follow the seasons…Spring starts energizing everything, summer is a super busy time full of productivity, autumn starts everyone slowing down and winter is our body’s/mind’s rest time so we can start the cycle again. Things get off balance when we push too hard in the autumn and winter and don’t take the time to rebuild our stores. Your harvest time is right in line with summer. 🙂
Well, at least I am working with the seasons instead of against them! I am so ready for fall though. 🙂
I can completely relate to the burning the candle at both ends harvest season. It seems as if most of mine either correspond to my work as a worship leader, or my kids homeschooling/activities. My problem is that I seem to compound the business by not planning for easy meals, or sharing the other responsibilities around the house with my family. I’m trying to learn to keep my to do list a little smaller and my expectations a little lower. I’d look forward to reading your thoughts for easy, nourishing meal prep!
Let me tell you, I really look forward to a simple and easy meal plan too! I am so done with testing numerous recipes everyday!
Kimi, I just want to say that I love when you write these life posts! I really enjoy reading them. I also love this idea of the harvest season! Blessings to you.
Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet
Thanks, Archer. I appreciate it. 🙂
I balance family and work by having a job in the school district. I work the same hours my kids are in school and have the same days off that they do. This helps with home work, getting meals ready and just spending time with them (quality time). My job doesn’t pay much…but you can’t have everything. We give our kids their wings, we help them learn how to use them, eventually they will fly on their own. I feel it is our job as parents to give, teach and experience the best to our ability and pass it on to our kids, so when they do fly…they are confident, well adjusted adults ready to start their journey.
It is so true. We can’t have everything. Thanks for sharing.
Lisa @ HappyinDoleValley
This is just what I needed to read this morning. Love how the Lord provides perspective like that. 🙂 Thanks!
So glad my musings were helpful to someone else.
Even in the busiest times of life, I make sure to labor for six days and spend the seventh resting. Having that day off to relax, meditate on God, and spend time with His people does wonders to rejuvenate! Putting aside all the cares and work of the week for 24 hours makes the rest of the week so much more productive and manageable for me.
Actually, it is amazing how much more productive you can be when well rested, and take the time to rest! 🙂
Lauren @ Empowered Sustenance
I think you make a great point about how you need to “self-regulate” your work to make time for harvest. I never allowed myself a harvest time, and so much work contributed to a really serious flare-up of my disease during my freshman year of college. I couldn’t get it under control, so I had to leave school and just rest at home. My mandatory harvest time has brought so many blessings, though. God is showing me that work and harvest are equally important, and a fit together in a perfect design for humans. Thank you for this insightful post!
I spent 8 years undertaking a psychoanalytical training (while working as a therapist). Harvesting? I was the combine harvester, the thresher, the seed sower, and the baler all at once! I harvested so idiotically that my health came to a total standstill. I gave the whole thing up three years ago, and I’m still trying to resolve my health issues (which is why I am here). I haven’t been able to work these past three years, and so I looked for something I could do which I loved and which would help my quest for health. That turned out to be ceramics. I’ve had to completely revise my whole concept of careers, my place in the world and looking after myself. I certainly learned my lesson about the need for rest and balance. It was a deep, good lesson, and one that I desperately needed to learn but oh, it has been a hard and expensive one. Why is it that so often we can only learn the hard way?!
Looking forward to your cookery book.
Your posts just get better and better. 🙂 I read them and store them away in my subconscious – I think they get integrated in my thought patterns. I hope! For this is a great one!
Unsolicited advice – we are prone to coughs in our house. Nothing has ever knocked it out like ALJ by Nature’s Sunshine. I don’t use it for every cold and cough, but I do for the nasty ones. I think this company does network sales but is also widely available in stores. It’s safe for kids, even giving a kids dosage on the bottle. I checked out each herb and it looks good. Our pediatrician even suggested giving it to my daughter when she was under 1. For whatever reason, I don’t like to give it during the acute stage, but more for the lingering hack or mucous.
I seem to always struggle between the balance of work and the rest of my life! I do some paralegal work at home, homeschool two children, and besides cooking and housework seem to have a problem of constantly creating new projects for myself. Everything seems important to do NOW! I pray about priorities a lot. Your mother-in-law was wise. I was thinking just yesterday how I looked forward to winter coming and our activities would shift and I could tackle some things that just aren’t getting done. I thought of your mother-in-law on July 4. From what I remember reading in the Samaritan Ministries newsletter, she died July 4, 2010. That was the day my Lilly was born. Lilly had trisomy 18 and died this past December. Lilly’s short life has helped me put more things into perspective and focus better on things that really are important.
This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. I have been burning the candle at both ends as well and I am getting so exhausted.
I will be buying the book you have suggested, it sounds like a good relaxing read.
I do love your posts and website. Rest is so essential and we have all had the long cough as well, which I find is so discouraging in the summer. I have been encouraged reading One Thousand Gifts-Dare to live fully right where you are by Ann Voskamp. Though I don’t often read books like this with a full life, cooking, homeschooling, raising and loving family, and spending time with my husband, it has been very encouraging and challenging to me to live fully in each moment we have. Looking forward to your cookbook.
This is just what I needed to hear today. It is so nice hearing other women going through the same experiences as I am. Thank you.
I stumbled across your lovely blog when looking for dairy free ice cream recipes (which look delicious by the way!!) and I thought I would add a little food for thought. The Chinese understand there to be five seasons – including late summer, which is the time we are coming into now and is all about the harvest season when all that has come to maturity in summer is coming to fruition. Understanding this season (and our reaction to it) helps us to understand the earth element – and its associated organs, the stomach and the spleen. An imbalance in these organs can lead to restless energy but it can also lead to lack of motivation. (I am a five element acupuncturist and one of my favourite points is on the spleen channel – its called earth motivater!) When stomach and spleen are constitutionally deficient they will struggle with dampening foods (Gluten, Dairy, Peanuts etc). At this time of year I invite all of my earth imbalances for a seasonal treatment which is best performed in the season and in the biorhythm of stomach and spleen (7am-11am in the UK) and this involves the points Leg Three Miles on the stomach channel (to give you the energy to push those last few miles on harvest projects) and Supreme White which can be interpreted as engendering the metal element (Autumn). In this case they are used because they are the earth points on the earth channels. The earth element is all about balance and this can be hard to strike at this time of year. In my book, being busy should be balanced with lying in a hammock! If you are interested in seasonal energy and looking after yourself you should see if there is a five element acupuncturist near you. Good luck with the project!