By Joey Phoenix
Do you feel like you’ve been going and going without stopping? Does it seem like since the summer you’ve been in an all out sprint and now suddenly the end of the year almost upon us and you haven’t felt able to take a moment to just be?
This is me giving you permission to take a moment.
2020: The Year That’s Lasted a Decade
This year has been one constant hustle and push for small businesses and makers who work for themselves – many of whom have juggled day jobs and artistic side hustles for quite some time.
Without the typical mainstays of summer opportunities, October markets, and the holiday rush – people have just been doing everything they can to just keep moving. The pressure to pivot, take on more responsibilities, and diversify what they offer has been exhausting.
And we’re all exhausted.
And now that we’re in the final corridor of the year, maybe it’s time to just pause. Not to quit, not to give up, but to pause.
It’s taken me years (and a lot of therapy) to give myself permission to sometimes take a breath. To turn off screens and know that in the day or two that I’m not paying attention to things, nothing is going to explode.
I’ve also learned that instead of trying to meditate and sit quietly with my thoughts, putting on Great British Bake Off or Bob Ross’s The Joy of Painting has been the soothing catharsis that keeps me from tipping over the edge.
I’m also the kind of person that has had to break the bad habit of answering emails at midnight. So having a “do this instead of the bad thing,” as opposed to a “don’t do that,” helps me keep my rebellious work-obsessed mind in check.
The Case for Rest
There’s something inherent in American culture that prescribes that we as humans should be hyper-productive, extra positive, and able to handle whatever life throws at us. But we’re also designed to spend a third of our lives sleeping and there’s a lot to say for being indolent, i.e. decadently lazy.
And this year has sucked. There’s no way to say it without first acknowledging that. And we have all tried so long and so hard that we deserve rest.
I will acknowledge that there is a lot of fear. There is a fear that if we stop then there won’t be enough to get by on. There is a fear that if we take the time to rest we will miss out on opportunities that we wouldn’t have had we been vigiliant enough.
This is no way to live.
I’m a scrappy hustler and odds are, if you’re reading this, you are too.
But while there is hope on the horizon in the form of another Stimulus package and maybe even a vaccine, this economic situation is not something that’s going to fix itself overnight. We have been in it for the long haul and there is still a long way to go, and you are going to need your strength for the next leg of this.
So be kind to yourself. Make a list of the things you want to do in January, sure, but maybe now take more time than you think you need to just relax.
And I recognize that there is amount of privilege required to be able to fully relax for even an hour some days. Some of us don’t have the option to spend a long time luxuriating in the bathtub or binging The Queen’s Gambit because there are kids or parents to take care of or a task list that won’t just quit.
But where you can, when you can, acknowledge to yourself that you have done a superhero’s work this year just keeping yourself alive, let alone running a business.
And it’s ok to sit down for a moment or two. You deserve it.
Then, when you’re ready, jump right back in. And we’ll be here to help when you do.
Joey Phoenix (they/them) is the Managing Editor of Creative North Shore and the Digital Content Manager for North Shore Pride. Send story ideas, inspiration, or pictures of adorable critters to firstname.lastname@example.org
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