DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been working nonstop for about two months now, and I am completely exhausted. Obviously that means I should slow down, but the thing is that I am a freelancer. I’m afraid to turn down work when it’s coming on strong. Who knows when it will dry up and I will be broke again? I don’t want to risk being unavailable and then somebody else gets the job and they don’t call on me again. I’m also afraid that I will get sick if I don’t get some rest. What should I do? -- Stretched Too Thin
DEAR STRETCHED TOO THIN: Your level of paranoia is understandable, but I want to suggest to you that your current pace is impossible to maintain and unhealthy to boot. When you operate your life based on the belief that there is enough for you, even as there is enough for everyone else, you are able to breathe deeply and relax.
You deserve to have at least one day of rest every week. Your mind and body need to slow down and recuperate from the week. This is true even if you are a freelancer and worried about paying bills.
The best thing you can do for yourself for longevity’s sake is to establish a weekly rhythm that requires that you take at least one day off, preferably the same day weekly. You can let your clients know that you will give 100% on every day but your day off. It is OK to pass up work if your health will be jeopardized otherwise. You must also have faith that your quality of work is excellent and your commitment to your clients is sincere and well-noted, so that when you establish this most basic boundary, it will be respected.