Forced time out

In the past week, I’ve made 4 batches of truffles for gifts, 5 batches of cookies, a cheesecake, dinner almost every night, and planned a holiday party for today.  On top of all that, I’ve also gone to a total of 5 different medical appointments (doctors and PT for both my Mother in Law and myself), went to watch (and provide moral support for) some friends who were singing carols at a local bookstore, and made a couple of runs to a department store at my MIL’s request (pushing her in her wheelchair).

No wonder I’m so tired.  And the week technically isn’t over yet.  I’ve still got another batch of cookies to make today, a necklace as a gift for a friend, arrange the boxes of tuffles for the guests tonight, and make dinner for the party.

Instead of doing anything though, I’m having to sit for a half hour as my TENS unit cycles through.  At my PT on Thursday, my physical therapist gave me a TENS unit to use for the chronic pain I’ve been having in my elbow.  He said to keep the electrodes hooked onto me so I can use the TENS unit any time the pain warrants it, but that hurts too much when I do finally take them off at the end of the day.  Besides, there’s the whole “cyborg” feeling to being wired up all day. 

I’ve also found that if I sit for the half hour cycle for the TENS unit to work, it helps relax the muscles, something I can’t do when I’m off and going (making cookies, doing laundry, whatever).  Sitting relatively still (typing on the computer doesn’t really count as activity) while letting the TENS unit work seems to be helping.   So, while I’m not exactly using the TENS unit as directed (anytime the pain warrants it) I am making time 4 times a day to use the unit.

For me, this is hard.  Especially right now with all the holiday preparation still to do.  Besides the party tonight for my close friends (made family, if you will), there’s still two parties for family (although those will be at a cousin’s house, I only have to bring my portion of the pot-luck), more cookies to make (so we don’t run out with all the eating and giving away of cookies we do each holiday season), and more gifts to make (and unfortunately, there just won’t be enough time to finish my lace piece I was trying to get done to give as a present to a dear friend).  Of course, there’s still the weekly PT appointments and doctors appointments, as well as house cleaning and laundry and all the things that have to be done in a day.

Sitting down for two hours a day to do nothing is a forced time out for me.  If it weren’t for having to deal with this elbow being recalcitrant and not being healed two months ago, I wouldn’t find the time to sit and do basically nothing. 

Last year I had the exact opposite problem.  I couldn’t do anything because of recovering from knee reconstruction surgery.  I was complaining that I couldn’t do my normal cookie baking, couldn’t have people over for parties, couldn’t go shopping for gifts (all gifts last year were store cards). 

One of these days I’ll find a balance, I’m sure.  Until then, I’ll keep doing what I do.  This year, that includes finding 2 hours in a day to take care of myself, and be good to myself when I’m in the midst of doing all sorts of things for other people.

What do you do to take time for yourself during your busy times of the year?  Do you keep going until exhaustion (or something else) forces you to take some down time?  Or do you budget in daily or weekly time to just ‘be’ and do whatever you want?  If you do have time just to be, what kind of things do you find recharges you?  Do you take a “power nap”?  Or do you read a mind-candy book?  Or something else entirely?

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6 Responses

  1. Reading blogs 🙂

  2. I’m really awful at taking time out for myself. I go non-stop every day, taking care of my daughter, my husband, making things for other people. I made a conscious effort to do absolutely nothing for 30 minutes yesterday, and I have to say that it was really really difficult. I think that I need to schedule time for myself, and then actually use it to do something completely selfish. I know that it would make me a better mom, wife and person in general. Old habits die hard.

  3. I love my TENS unit, but i hardly wear it. The wires make me nervous. 😛

  4. I tend to get overwhelmed by busy times and fail to actually get anything done. When I’m coping better, I generally work solidly for three or four hours and then go and eat something, and set myself a time to get back to work at.
    I’m one of those people who hates switching their brain off, so even when I’ve been revising all day, I’d rather turn my attention to something other than my subject than look for ‘mind-candy’. I do find that conversation, especially with my mother for some reason, is a good recharger.
    If I’m overwhelmed, then physical contact is what I really need. It is good to have housemates who hug.

  5. You’ve been awarded at our site. Congratulations!

    Power nap for me, even if it’s only 15 minutes. It’s a good recharge.

  6. Not a real answer – but, in response to, “Besides, there’s the whole “cyborg” feeling to being wired up all day.” – try wearing an insulin pump! I feel like the Terminator.

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