Have you had some off days recently?
Wimbledon, Ascot, Lords …. Or just a picnic with friends and family?
Summer is the time to get away from your work and have a day off. Take time out. A planned day off for a special event is usually something you want to do and feel entitled to do.
“Off ” days
But what if you have an “off” day which is different from a planned Day Off. And you can’t work out the reason for it?
Two days ago I had an “off” afternoon. I didn’t plan it. It took me a long time to realise I was doing it. It wasn’t until I was half way through a scone with cream and raspberry jam that I woke up and realised what was going on!
- I suddenly thought I don’t want to do any work.
- I don’t want to think.
- I feel like a spot of shopping – or window shopping and seeing the world going on around me.
If I had been with a friend, my partner or someone in my family I would have counted it as a Day Off.
My “off” days happen when I am on my own. They usually come at me from nowhere and I suddenly feel as though I must go and do something and get out of the house. I tell myself that I will “do some work” to justify it. This usually means take my notebook and write. But I never do.
I feel a vague kind of discontent. I don’t want to see a film or read a book – I am too jumpy for that. I don’t even want to gaze at a beautiful view. Nor do I want to do what I normally love .. have a good conversation. I have a need to soak up a variety of quick experiences as an outsider. Being in a shops or a busy shopping centre with lots of people around seems to be the answer.
What is the point of having an “off” day?
No point at all at the time!
I have been tempted to justify it by saying it is the essential darkness before the dawn. The drought period before a surge of creativity but in my experience that is not always the case. I have felt more comfortable looking back afterwards and telling myself I just needed the space.
But probably a more honest approach is to simply enjoy it. Go with the flow. When I do that and trust that my whole life will not be spent in this phase I think it helps to get through it.
The next day after your subconscious has absorbed the experience and you have slept, it is helpful to check in and see if you feel more engaged. Usually I find I do… but not always.
It feels like a downtime between worlds. It is neither fully engaged relaxation, nor is it fully engaged concentration. Both of which are life-affirming.
It is a bit like the space between the stones in a drystone wall. No cement needed. Simply space that allows everything else to have shape.Enjoy it. Feel no shame.
Maybe there is no point to it. It just is. And that is the point! After all in the old days we would have had a lot more quiet time … walking to places, working in the fields, kneading bread, churning butter, doing repetitive household tasks that did not use our whole brain. Perhaps we still need those times in our sped-up world.
Or maybe the point is to acknowledge your own instincts and this is a perfect opportunity to practise not fighting them …
What do you think? Do you have “off” days, too?