Be Realistic

I’m going away this weekend for Nurture, a twice-annual retreat for creative women. This is my fourth time taking part as the “creative producer” which is a fancy way of saying “on-site support staff”. I help with all the logistics, the setup, the food prep, the orientations, and of course making sure everyone is having a wonderful time throughout. It’s beautiful, and magical, and also, yes, very tiring.

I’ve been experimenting more lately with calendar blocking, in an attempt to proactively stop myself from being overworked and harried on any given day. I don’t always remember to do it, but when I do, it works wonders. Today, for example, I have built in tons of rest time for myself, essentially from 3pm onwards, to prepare and get ready for the busyness of the next few days. I also took off all of Monday after we get back!

These decisions are an accumulation of knowledge that I’ve gained from my last few times participating in Nurture. It takes a lot out of me, so it’s important to rest & recover in any way I can. It’s taken me a while to really start protecting my time because I am never realistic enough about my capacity. I have resisted the fact that I clearly need to rest, before and after. I need to have very little to do! I need large swaths of time to recover. Especially as an introvert, this is essential.

I think this is an issue for many of us: we aren’t realistic enough about the demands on our time and what they’ll require of us. We aren’t realistic about how much buffer we need between things. We aren’t realistic about how much time it will take to recover from something. We don’t give ourselves space to breathe and process the events of our lives.

I think we resist because we don’t want to accept our limitations. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to others, who seem to have limitless capacities for productivity and excitement. Our culture makes us see rest and downtime as somehow “less than”: there are no accolades or much praise for taking a nap! It’s up to us to change this narrative. It’s up to us to own our capacity and honour it. So that’s what I’m trying to do today. Do less, so I can do more. Be realistic about how much rest I really need, and then give myself that space and grace. Wish me luck!

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