Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Jerk Boss

Over the past few days, I've come to an important realization. I've been thinking a lot about how burned out and exhausted I've been feeling, and it occurred to me that what I need is a mental health day. A MASSIVE mental health day.

This is something I wouldn't think twice about at a more everyday-type job with a regular employer. My boss wouldn't even have to know I wasn't really sick. Or, if your boss was cool, you could just tell them you need a personal day. But I work at home--self-employed--and apparently I am a really mean boss. I don't think twice about giving myself weekend work to do; I often force myself to work late into the night until it's time to go to bed; when Boss Me says "jump," Beleaguered Employee Me says "how high?"

And I'm a pretty good employee. Sure, I goof off now and then. Twitter appears on my monitor more often than it probably should. But I work hard. So I think I deserve a mental health day. I haven't had one in ages. So I started making a list of things I want to do on my mental health day: not a to-do list, because mental health days and to-do lists don't mix. Just a list of things I haven't really allowed myself to do in a long time--months, in many cases. And on my mental health day, if I'm wondering what I want to do--if, that is, I want to do anything other than being a TV-sated couch potato--I'll just consult the list. So far, I've got:
  • play the Wii
  • play the piano
  • bake cookies
  • read in the bathtub
  • do a craft of some sort (perhaps going back to that knitting project I'm destined never to finish)
Anything remotely relating to or resembling work of any kind does not belong on the list. Even working on my new linoleum block print is not on the list (keyword there: "working"). Now comes the tricky part, though: figuring out when to "allow" myself the mental health day. I almost feel like if you have to schedule the mental health day more than a day or two in advance, it loses some of its power. But I do know it'll have to be soon--and I know I'll be happier (and probably more productive) in the long run because of it.

How about you? Had a mental health day recently? If not, why not? If so, what did you do with it?