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