It’s Important to Take an Occasional Day Off From My Busy Schedule

Setting aside a day to rest proves hugely beneficial for this columnist

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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I don’t sit still well. I’m not sure I would’ve survived elementary school if I hadn’t been in a Montessori-style school that allowed me to move around at will, do my math while lying on the floor, and explore new things. I can sit and focus without trouble when I need to, but I’d prefer not to.

Sometimes, though, I have to force myself slow down for a day. My schedule is pretty hectic. I usually manage my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) by staying as active as I can, but sometimes I still need to give my body a break. Unfortunately, I hardly ever give myself that time.

Between my job as a college counselor and history teacher at a local high school, riding and working on a horse farm, and living and working on another, I almost never have a day when I just stay home. And most of the time, I like it that way. I prefer to be busy, and I feel good when I’m productive.

After a crazy winter cold snap at the end of December, plenty of rain this month, and a super busy schedule at school, I recently found myself exhausted. I needed some mental and physical “me time.” Between managing anxiety and the physical soreness that come with EDS, it’s important to give myself a break.

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A day of unwinding

Two weekends ago, it was supposed to rain almost all day on Sunday. Given how that severely curtails what I can do on the farm, I decided to find a way to stay home and relax. I was able to delegate some of my farm responsibilities and spent the day doing low-key things I enjoy.

Animals always need to be fed and cared for, but after my basic chores, I did things I’ve wanted and needed to do for a while. I did several loads of laundry (just don’t ask me if I folded it!), rearranged my closet and gathered several bags of clothes for donation, and spent a bunch of time in the kitchen cooking, baking, and hanging out with my dogs.

Not only was the day itself much needed, but it helped me throughout the following week as well. I made oatmeal protein bread for breakfast, and I prepped sesame chicken and vegetables and vegan lasagna-style stuffed portobello mushrooms to have during the week. As someone who deals with EDS-related gastrointestinal issues and alpha-gal syndrome, which is an allergy to all mammalian-based products, I’ve found that planning out my meals for the week is a huge help. I cook pretty much everything from scratch and can make sure I get enough protein every day.

In the busyness of life, it can be easy to forget how much we all sometimes need a break. Even a simple day at home to get chores done, do some cooking and baking (which I truly enjoy), and not be on a timetable can be so refreshing. I think I need to make it a point to regularly incorporate a day like this into my self-care routine. It made a big difference!

Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.


Mary Spain avatar

Mary Spain

You are so right about needing down time. I had a schedule where I worked 7 days a week (at the same job) and it totally ruined my health. There are times when having a day for sleep is so important. I've slept up to 20 hours at a stretch to catch up and I have a very supportive husband who understands. Mary


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