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Take an after-work break

By Kelly

Every day of this week, I’ve checked off all 20 of the must-do habits on my Trello checklist, including ones I struggle with (like exercising, walking Kanna and brushing her teeth). And I’m about to hit a five-weekday-streak for the first time, ever. (I used to hit a perfect Trello-checklist day once a month, if even.)

So what changed? I finally realized something I probably shouldv’ve already known: I need an after-work break.

Because of the days of traffic, I wasn’t programmed to think I could have this. After working in an office, I’d immediately get in the car, drive an hour (or two, because Austin) and then do everything on my daily checklist in a long, exhausting string (usually while dizzy and cussing) because I knew if I sat down, I wouldn’t be able to get back up. Then I’d be doomed to spend the whole evening watching Netflix, because I was too tired to do anything else.

Well, I don’t currently have to think that way.

The other day, when I was particularly exhausted after work, I found myself unable to do anything but crawl into bed and take a nap, even though I had already put on my workout clothes and gotten out Kanna’s leash, and she was standing next to the bed, head tilted.

Turns out the workout shoes, the leash and the expectant dog were all still there when I woke up, and so was something so foreign to weekdays that I didn’t recognize it at first: energy. But I didn’t just have the energy to walk the dog and exercise, I actually wanted to, which is something I haven’t experienced on a workday in... . It’s never happened.

Since I wasn’t exhausted from sitting in traffic, taking a nap after work actually recharged me instead of lured me to sleep early. But I decided it was a rare fluke. It certainly never happened before. So the next day I tried it again. After work, instead of immediately trying to tackle my to-dos, I laid in bed and watched a 90-minute movie (because I wasn’t tired enough to nap). And it happened again. Once the movie was over, I popped out of bed and tackled everything on my too-long list with actual joy.

Because when you’ve worked all day, of course you don’t want to do more work. You want and need to rest your body and brain. You need to recharge. You need some do-nothing time, so the do-everything time doesn’t seem so daunting. I’m sure this is obvious to many readers, but to me it’s a bit of a revelation.

So, excuse me. I’m gonna go take a break.

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