This weekend I’m using the Christmas present Andrew gave me: a three-night retreat. I’m staying in a hotel in a different neighborhood in our city. No travel, no stress. I’m fifteen minutes from home, but this feels like another world.


I’m in a part of town that we love but where we don’t spend much time unless we have guests. It’s outside of our usual commuter routes so visiting is always intentional.


Unlike the fall retreat I attended, I don’t have one project I’m anxious to complete. Instead, I’m behind on many things. Andrew, M, and I have been passing various illnesses back and forth, and when M is sick, I stay home with him because my deadlines are currently more flexible than Andrew’s. M got an extremely high fever about a week ago (103 F / 39.4 C). He was better by Sunday and went to crèche on Monday while I took a day trip out to Zurich to see an old friend who was en route to Davos. M came home with a diagnosis of conjunctivitis, and I spent the next two days at home with him keeping his eyes clean and discovered at the end of the first day that I also had a fever.

By Thursday all I could think of was the list of things I wanted to complete during my retreat: grant applications, thesis reading, etc. etc. All work. No relaxation. And I realized I needed to set a few rules for myself so that I could actually rest and recover and come back refreshed, not even more spent:

Rule 1: Sleep as much as my body wants.

Rule 2: Read something for fun each day.

Rule 3: Write something fun each day.

That’s it.

Racing to cross one more item off of my to do list isn’t going to help in the long term while taking a few days off will give me the energy and drive to push through the tougher days. I’ll finish the items on my list, but they can wait three nights.

This time is a gift, and I’m appreciating the heck out of it!

© 2016 Anindita Basu Sempere. 
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