To Do: Rest and Relax


Here in southern Wisconsin, our Labor Day holiday was a gorgeous sun-splashed day with only a little rain in the early hours.

I was busy about the house mid-morning, already crossing items off my lengthy to-do list when my husband appeared at the bottom of the attic stairs. Covered head to toe in sawdust, he had been working since dawn on a skylight installation project. His list for the day was a mile long too, I knew.

“I’m going to shower,” he said casually. ‘Then how about we drive to Madison?”

I stared at him. “Madison is any hour away.”

“I know, but I thought maybe we could both use some time away.”

This might not sound radical to you, but for two busy people whose days off are usually filled with more writing, sewing, cooking and house renovations than you can shake a stick at, this was an shocker indeed.

Especially on a day that was perfect for house painting!

But Nathan was as good as his word. He cleaned up, I packed up, and we set out under a brilliant blue sky. Madison, our state capitol. On the way, we chatted about anything and everything. We rolled down the windows and enjoyed the wind in our hair.

It turned out to be just what we both needed.

Hearty Nepali cuisine at Himal Chuli. (I used to live in Nepal, so I love every rare chance to eat great Himalayan cuisine.) Wandering the eclectic shops of State Street. A surprise stop in a brand-new candy shop, where I ate more sour gummies than I have since I was a kid. A long, leisurely sit by the lake’s edge, watching the people go by. Walking through old neighborhoods admiring the architecture.

There were moments when I felt guilty, of course. My last precious hours of a three-day weekend were slipping away right into the waters of Lake Monona.

But so was my anxiety.

At that moment, I needed my stress and pressure a lot less than I needed the gift of relaxation.

The patchwork life may be wonderful, but it is also hurry-scurry, hustle-bustle, with constant time juggling to ensure all the pieces are stitched up properly. If you’re a patchworker, I’m sure your life is like this, too.

Case in point: As I write this, I’m about to hit the speeding train that will likely be my day job on a Tuesday after a long weekend—and believe me, I’m more than a little nervous.

But it’s okay, really, because yesterday, I let everything go for a few hours and just enjoyed the moment. With the help of my favorite person, I finished the most important item on my to-do list: the one I had neglected to write down.

“Rest and relax.”


* * *

How about you? Do you have trouble relaxing during the “down times” even though you know you should? Have you learned a trick for helping yourself take the time?

What do you think?

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