You’ve heard of maximum security, maximum overdrive, and even maximum heart rate. I have recently named a state of mind as “maximum threshold.”
Maximum threshold is the ultimate level of stress you can handle before you have to give yourself a day off. It varies from person to person, and week to week. Even if a person has a relatively high maximum threshold, there are weeks when it will feel lower and more down time will be necessary to maintain an even keel and not start swinging. 🙂
Personally, I tend to need one day of down time for every month at the day job. Sometimes I need more, especially when there are a lot of projects and stress there. But also when there are a lot of projects in my personal life, like prepping books to go to the editor or to print, or just a really cool quilt I am itching to work on.
A few weeks ago, I felt that maximum threshold coming on. It coincided with a major project at the day job, a lot of little stress piling up there and the upcoming due date for Book #2 to head off to my wonderful editor! Add to that the feeling of fleeting weekends being filled with chores and errands and I was ripe for a meltdown.
So I decided to take myself out of the 9 to 5 for a five day weekend to decompress and focus on some editing. And okay, maybe bond with my sewing machine a bit too. The poor girl is getting dusty! Add to this an incredible urge to have a pajama day and not actually leave the house… and five cats who have a way of convincing me I need a nap…
I was aiming to be productive during my time off though. I actually proctored an exam on Saturday for seven hours, and worked on the final push of rewrites on Book #2. But, I admit, there was a LOT of down time too.
And though I know that the relaxed feeling will probably disappear again within a few hours of returning to the regular work day, I know deep in my heart that I mentally need these breaks to keep doing what I do.
How do you handle your maximum threshold? Do you find that sometimes the best medicine is to simply allow yourself a few days of unsupervised, unclaimed down time?