Monday, February 14, 2011
Up Days and Down Days
The concept of "up days" and "down days" was introduced to me by the leaders at my new parent support group: Some days you can go about your regular life with your child, running around and doing errands and whatnot (this is an up day). But other days, it's a good idea to take a break from that and give yourself permission to lounge around during the day and do nothing but the essential tasks of daily living: eat, sleep, cuddle with your kid (a down day).
Daniel and I usually have a need for a down day if one of us is sick or didn't get any sleep the night before. On these days, I try to be as gentle as possible with both of us. I just have to pretend my child is a brand new infant again and provide the opportunity for both of us to rest and recuperate.
Sometimes it's hard to make myself take a down day, because it seems like they always become necessary when we're knee-deep in things to do. I'm starting to think that maybe it's not a coincidence that it happens that way. It might be that the need for us to take a down day is an indicator that our life is getting a bit out of balance, and I need to take a day or two to refocus and build up my energy to get going again.
On down days, after taking a shower (because that helps me to feel refreshed) I put on pajamas or other very comfortable, soft clothing. I only do the essential chores (diaper laundry, but no other loads, for example) and I eat foods and engage in activities that feel nurturing and restorative to me. I make sure to take my vitamins and have tea time. I try my best to take at least one nap with Daniel, and I stay home all day. I sometimes watch movies or television, and I don't feel guilty if Daniel gets a lot of "screen time" those days (even though he doesn't really watch the TV yet) because if that's what helps us get through the day, then so be it. I don't write and publish new content on my blog on down days (even though I might publish something I've already scheduled). I do often find myself writing a lot on down days, though, because it's one of the big ways I process things and reflect on my life. I find it cathartic.
I thought I might be finished having down days by this point in my child's development, but I think this might never end. Though they are becoming less frequent, I'm sure they will continue to be necessary through the end of my life. I think it's why some companies provide their employees with "personal days" or "mental health days" off, so they don't have to dishonestly call in sick when they need to take a down day to feel refreshed again the next day.
Do you ever take down days? What's your favorite down day activity (or non-activity, as it were)? I'd love to hear about it!
This post is part of my series on balance, inspired by the October Carnival of Natural Parenting. Without balance, we feel burned out, we lose perspective...we fall down. How do you find balance in your life? What does it mean to you to be in balance? Does it come easily to you or do you have to be more intentional about it?
I'd love to host your guest post for my series on balance! Contact me at anktangle (at) gmail (dot) com if you're interested in participating.