They seem like the antithesis of useful tools for writing. A whole day spent doing nothing but looking after yourself? Or even half a day, it’s stupid, surely?
But no, it isn’t. A duvet day (doona day in Australia, which I love way more) is a day that you take off work before you make yourself sick. One day of sleeping in, eating comfort food and hugging your cat can actually help you keep going when blasting through without that day could have you off with stress or related illnesses. HR Zone suggested that it might be coming to the UK from the US, as a built-in part of holiday allowances.
For starters, we need to be easier on ourselves when it comes to taking a day off. I had many days off from school because I had allergies and a sneeze like an elephant. I accepted that if I went to school no one near me was getting any work done, so I stayed home and sneezed myself miserable on my own. But now I’m an adult, and even when I worked in catering there was this pressure to turn up even if you’re feeling awful. Even if the law states that you should be as far from your place of work as it’s possible to get for 48 hours.
Now I set my own hours, I should be able to look after myself better. Not a chance. A couple of weeks back I was determined to get this novel written, so I sat down and slogged, and slogged and slogged, and I got about a quarter of the way through it in a week. Not bad, but not as good as I hoped. And I’ve not written anything since.
Because what could be more effective than wearing yourself out, growing to resent your novel and blasting through so fast that you don’t notice the ridiculous knots you’ve just tied yourself in?
Anything. Anything is better than that. How about… allowing yourself an evening off once a week, if you want it, to do something else? Or keeping an emergency stash of chocolate/wine/ice cream/peanut butter that, when broken out, is a sign that tools are downed for sanity’s sake?
I need to get better at this. Having burned myself out in a week, not only have I not done more to that story than mess with what I’ve already written and replot, I’ve not written anything else either, or played Sims, or watched any of the films I’ve been promising myself, or read, or even got on my exercise bike. I put so much pressure on myself to finish that story, I can’t do anything else until I get there. (Except procrastinate hugely. At least our disaster of a room-in-progress is looking a lot emptier now.)
Well, enough is enough. I hereby declared Monday to be my duvet day. I’m going to spend the morning in Ikea and the afternoon browsing the Ikea catalogue with several cups of tea.