While I was on my sudden, much-needed hiatus last week, I emailed Susan Dworski, a frequent contributor/now-dear-friend, about the heartening and supportive messages I’d received from readers. She sent the image, below, (titled appropriately “I’m Wired“), with this note:

Maybe it’ll take a village to get you unplugged.

She hit the nail on the head.

Susan Dworski
Susan Dworski

Even though I gave myself permission to STOP, I benefitted greatly from the affirmations of readers. As though they knew I’d struggled with the decision, many wrote to say Yes, STOP, while urging me to take care and not burn out…

…I want to add my “Amen” to what has already been said and to selfishly plead: Please don’t get burned out! I use this site in my work with abused kids and youth who need to know that an amazing life waits for people who live outside the box whether by circumstance or choice– or both. Thank you! —Tavia

Especially interesting were readers that expressed their own need for reassurances to stop:

Your website is part of my daily routine and while I will miss seeing a new post every day, I feel that I have permission to take some time off with all that is going on in my life right now. I am also confident that you will return, and so will I.

My taking the time off often seems to hit a chord with readers who are grappling with the very same issue: the pressure to keep DOING, producing, showing up, and the difficulty of taking the time they need (or even just some time).

Years ago when my sister and I were variously taking care of our elderly mother — and the many crises that ensued — we somehow hit on a strategy for helping the other take some much-needed time and care. One of us would say “I’m giving you a Certificate”… to take the afternoon/week off…to go out to dinner with a friend…be lazy…do nothing…WHATEVER. And curiously, it worked. It was a coded way of affirming the realities at hand and the need to take care.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Susan Dworski was right. It can take a village (or a friend or two) to get us unplugged.




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2 replies on “Do You Need Permission to Stop?

  1. Hear hear 🙂 I’ve always had an incredibly difficult time embracing and enjoying time off, but my partner and I improvised (yay!) a version that works well (and is amusing to friends) – “baby time”. Thanks to OCD and the crippling perfectionism that comes with it, I tend to be easily overwhelmed by decision-making. When in this state, even small choices feel crisis-inducing. In trying to explain this to my partner, I mentioned “I just want to be a baby. Feed me, bathe me, and put me to bed.” He didn’t literally feed/bathe me, but rather made the decision about what to eat, made the decision about when to go to bed, and anything else that came up that evening. It was wonderfully freeing, and as he’s quite shy and has a lot of trouble being in charge/authoritative, was an empowering experience for him as well. So when one of us really, really needs it – we’ll announce “I’m a baby!”, and the other will caretake for the evening 🙂

  2. Ah what an interesting solution. So simple really: code words for needing to be taken care of, and be let “off the hook”. Thank you!

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