Balancing Time Off With Work


frozen brook 

I make it a point to spend time outside each Sunday. Here’s  a frozen brook in the woods behind the house.

This time of year finding balance in life can sometimes be a bit elusive. Winter is slowly yielding to, lets call it late winter, and I’m starting to feel the welcome push of energy that spring will bring. I come out of each summer and into the fall pretty much worn down from the pace of traveling and teaching, I need to slow down for a bit, to take time to catch up with deferred projects, and I need time to rest. The trick is to do this without loosing all my momentum. I’ll admit I’m not that great at it.


One tool I use in my quest for balance is to spend time outside each day: in the forest, on my bike or along the shore. I think we all need time outside, but it is essential to my mental health.   Sundays off, or at least keeping out of the shop on Sundays also helps. For years I’ve said, “if you work on Sundays then Monday is just another damn day.”   When I’m on the road teaching I can’t always live by that rule, but I can when I’m home and so far this winter I have.

 bike near brook in snow

If there is not enough snow to ski the backwoods and it’s not to cold a bike ride is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I’m glad I have a versatile bike though!

A new concept for me this year is to try and go “camping” at least once each month. That can be a bit of a challenge in New England in the winter months but a night in an AMC cabin, a yurt or our VW camper does count so I see this as easily doable. Of course I also hope there are months this year in which I take several trips and spend many nights out. The goal here is to not let a month slip past without a night out in the world! And the goal is to balance these trips with my shop and creative projects. I firmly believe I need both and one cannot exist without the other.

 VW camping january in white mts

January’s overnight trip; two long days of snowshoeing in the White Mountains and a quiet night in the bus.

 Fire behind shop in snow

Time outside can be simple and easy to find. Last week, while the shop was heating up, I had my “second” cup of coffee by a fire I build behind the shop. It was a pleasant start to the day and excellent way to enjoying the new dusting of snow.

Bill Thomas