Funny thing about getting unexpected down time – at least for me – I both welcome it, but also end up feeling stalled out, inertia awash, stuck.
Friday was Day Two at home with a sick kid; on the mend she was, is, but all the same, she needed another day to heal up from the flu. I got more sleep, did a few chores, and otherwise just hung out with my daughter. I read, she watched cartoons; I did a little work, she worked on a learning app.
Sounds pretty good, right? A second day of unplanned retreat. Well it was a good day, for the most part. The weird thing, this funny thing I mentioned as the lead-in, it happened really early this morning, before the sun came up, when the house was dark and everyone was still in bed.
I felt stuck.
I slept through the night almost without waking through the night – not typical for me – and when I did wake up, it was nearly time to get up (on a usual day), and my head quickly came to speed thinking about all the things I need to do. And these just weren’t things I needed to do today or this weekend, it was EVERYTHING:
Work tasks, unfinished projects, upcoming changes, the garage full of stuff that need attention, the bills I need to pay, the tickets I need to sell, the yard work I need to do, the lists I need to make, the haircut I need, college tuition (mind you our kids are eight, six, and five currently), the last conversation my wife and I had last night, the dogs being neglected, the order I need to place for my mom, and on and on and…on.
You get the idea.
And I started to feel panicky, lying there in the dark, hours before a lot of people even start their day…and then I remembered…BREATH. So, I took a few deep breaths. That helped. I should have prayed too, that would have helped. But I didn’t. I laid there; I thought some more; I thought about what I could do today, should do today, first, second, third.
I started a list in my head. And I turned the corner. Away from panic, toward a better attitude, the proper mindset.
Having an action plan helps. Having a sense of the timing you want to execute to, that helps also. The main thing is, even as you let everything slow down, even as you purposely take a break, a pause, have a plan to ramp back up when its time. Have a scheme for how you intend to re-engage, whenever it is you do.
The more you anticipate, and have a plan to execute, the less inertia will weigh you down, the more effective, and happier you will be. And the more gratifying that retreat will be too.