Weekend Reading
January 7, 2024

I had such high hopes for the first week of the new year!

In spite of an up-and-down holiday season, I did get some quality rest between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. So I was ready to hit the ground running when I returned to my practice on Tuesday morning.

On New Year’s Eve, I couldn’t deny the fact that I felt as though I might be getting a cold. I was relieved to feel a bit better on Monday, and I got through my client work on Tuesday.

But by the end of that day, it was official: I had a cold.

I spent Wednesday morning trying to fight through it and get things done—those tasks that I was so excited to check off my to-do list in the first week of 2024.

The more I tried to do, the worse I felt. Finally I admitted defeat, and I took two days off, so that I could get back to my counseling work on Friday.

Here I was, surrounded by all of the hopeful energy of early January, the swirling resolutions and challenges and commitments to manifesting. And I couldn’t do much more than defrost soup, blow my nose, and take cat naps.

In that moment of unwelcome pause, I realized—or was reminded of—a few things.

  • I don’t really use the Eisenhower Matrix to plan my professional life (maybe I should?), but I think there’s truth in the quotation that inspired it. There are important things on my plate right now, but none of them are urgent. The more important they are, actually, the less I should attempt to rush them.
  • It may be a good thing that I was down for the count for a few days. I’m no stranger to all-or-nothing behavior, and had I not gotten a cold, I might have been overly zealous with work this week—a habit that has always lead to burnout.
  • Rest is productive.

OK, that last one deserves a little more attention.

“Rest is productive” is one of those expressions that I repeat reflexively. I utter the words to my clients who feel guilty about taking care of themselves. I declare it in writing in these Sunday posts.

But do I actually take it to heart?

In 2024 and always, it’s my hope to be someone whose words and actions truly match up.

In other words, I don’t want to talk publicly about the perils of perfectionism while quietly holding myself to impossible standards.

I don’t want to sing the praises of slowing down while routinely pushing myself too hard.

I don’t want to write about the value of health and wellness and then refuse to take a day off when I catch a cold.

“If you don’t pick a day to relax, your body will pick it for you.” Another saying that I’ve repeated many times emptily, resisting days off.

This week I was also reminded that down time is an essential component in creative work.

In the time I spent lying around and sniffling, I read. I read articles, I started a new novel, and I picked up some of my favorite old cookbooks.

The more I read, the more I wanted to write. The more recipes I revisited, the more I wanted to create new ones. It was the most inspired I’ve felt in months.

I’ve been doubting the value of the work that I create and my own capacity to create it for a while. That doubt and sense of defeat is what caused so many interruptions in my weekly newsletters last year.

Maybe I just needed more rest?

I’m not too cool for new year’s resolutions, or at least new years intentions. Typically when I set a goal for myself, I focus on the effort that it will take to get there.

Right now I’m thinking differently. I’m asking myself how much rest will be necessary in order for each goal to come to fruition.

Effort and ease. Opposite action.

Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

1. May 2024 be the year that I continue to mess around with my air fryer! I’m all about these tempeh nuggets; now I really want to try Richard’s tofu nuggets.

2. Speaking of ease, I could use some new treat recipes that don’t require me to bake. I’ve got my eye on Ashlae’s peanut butter bars.

3. I love rutabaga, and I just recently learned that it also goes by the name of swede. I’d love to try Tamsin’s carrot and swede mash as a veggie side dish sometime soon.

4. Mushroom-based “faux gras” is such a great wintertime dish, and this is one of the most enticing homemade versions I’ve seen.

5. I think I’ve found my new favorite way to eat Brussels sprouts.

Reads

1. Watching thirteen-year-old Willis Gibson’s reaction to beating Tetris made my week.

2. This list of small ways to feel better in 2024 is everything that most lists of this kind are not: gentle, realistic, kind.

3. Like writer A. Cerisse Cohen, I’ve taken great comfort dipping into the pages of Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. I loved reading about her experience with the book during the pandemic.

4. A fascinating personal reflection and exploration of aphantasia, which is an inability to voluntarily imagine things associated with the senses—images, smells, sounds.

5. At some point this week, in between feeling angry that I had to rest and grateful for that rest, I read this beautiful invitation to simply be.

Wishing that this Sunday brings you the rest that you need.

xo

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    3 Comments
  1. Brussels sprouts are also fantastic in the air fryer!! Will try your tempeh recipe soon

  2. I went on a trip down memory lane (HLBs of yesteryear) and thought I’d see what you’re up to.

    And I found this blog.

    There’s a thoughtfulness and honesty about your writing which I could never get tired of.

    Thank you for taking the time…I will now look forward to reading what you have to say, each week.

  3. I also started this year with SUCH high hopes and then found myself sick in bed – thank you for your perspective here!

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