What does your body need today?

Today is Saturday, my one free and clear day of the week. Some weeks, I can be productive in a steady rhythm throughout the day, accomplishing more than I had on my list, and go to bed at night feeling tired, satisfied, pleased.

Other Saturdays are a study in coziness and relaxation. Even if I have a lengthy to do list, some weekends I am not able to move. I have good intentions, but I putter. I putz. I distract myself from doing chores and errands. I linger over coffee, sidetrack myself with a magazine or cooking show, I indulge in a nap late morning.

The question is why? Why am I an engine some days, and others, I can’t even turn the key in the ignition?

I used to feel guilty when I had an “off” day. Aren’t Saturdays at home supposed to be about catching up from the week, or getting ready for Monday? If you schedule a Saturday outing, a day of recreation, that’s different…that’s on your list. But just whiling away your day? Not on the program!

I finally realized that when your brain doesn’t give your body permission to take a day off, eventually, your body doesn’t ask for permission. It just takes what it needs. In extreme cases, this could result in actual illness, although I’m not talking about that scenario here. Why do we (I) think it is heroic and a good thing to be “productive” every day? Yes, I know Martha Stewart never misses a beat. But I am not Martha, nor do I aspire to be. (No offense intended…but I have to acknowledge reality.)

My reality is that I am generally a busy woman who loves to put a check mark beside items on my list. But balance is important, and time to relax, to restore, to just be, is as important…no, more important…than my busy-ness. Putting this need on the back burner doesn’t make me a super woman, it makes me inattentive to self-maintenance. There are many analogies to this: sharpening the saw (Stephen Covey); maintaining a vehicle, or putting my oxygen mask on before assisting others (my life coach). It feels counter intuitive. But taking time for myself, even if it is not scheduled, actually improves my productivity and my ability to give to others.

I may be slow, but light is breaking through.

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