Guilt free days off and other pigs that fly

It’s a unique trait of the self employed. You’d never work a salaried job and feel guilty on your day off, would you? I suppose it’s partly down to diffused responsibility, and the lack there of in self employment. Your business will succeed or fail by your hand alone. It’s easy to feel like you aren’t doing enough. It means that every day you aren’t all about you business you can experience a nagging feeling. A feeling that tells you that those lost hours are integral you your businesses success. 


Sound familiar?


It’s way too familiar for me. I give myself days off when I am sick or have something to do I booked in ages in advance. Even for the nice days there’s a. Lice in my head telling me I can’t afford it. Even on the sick days I squeeze in some blog writing or Instagramming or digital work. Heck, I’m describing the days off I give myself and they aren’t even real days off!


I know I shouldn’t feel guilty because they are absolutely necessary. Working forever without a day off only leads to exhaustion. It means poor decision making and panicked priorities. I know this in theory but I struggle to convince myself to act accordingly. It’s something I am working on. Burn out is a real threat. Plus time for friends and family is important. 


As I write this I have given myself a day off. I am exhausted, stiff and headachey. It’s a big step, but I’m still not doing it right. For instance, I am writing this. Stock has been ordered, I’ve done some social media and I updated my accounts. I did have a good breakthrough though. I forgave myself for it. Today I had painting plans and I had to postpone them. It twisted my insides up. I kept thinking of just going and powering through. This would inevitably lead to a horrible and exhausted week ahead as my next day off won’t be for 7 days. 


Be a friend to yourself


I once read about an experiment that is relevant to all this. It was found that the part of your brain that is engaged when you think about yourself in the future is not the same as the one that thinks of yourself in the present. In fact it’s the part that engages when you think about other people. This means that you don’t think of your future self as truly yourself. It is what leads us to impulsive behaviour. It’s what leads us to do things in the present at the expense of our future self. It’s relevant because it means it’s easier to forget about the needs of your future self. The guy whose gonna be the one burning out. Be Kind to that guy. Be a friend to yourself. 


I am trying to learn that lost work hours aren’t lost hours. They just have a different priority. Whether it is well being or social, or even just the benefit of returning to your work with fresh eyes. Time off is time well spent. We all need it, some of us just need to let ourselves have it.