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  • Writer's pictureErika Nichols-Frazer

Signing Off

The workday and down time don't look that different anymore; we're just home. So, how do you know when you're done with the day and ready to relax?

I'm working two jobs and writing two books, as well as editing an anthology, and reading for a lit mag. I don't know about this boredom everyone's talking about; my work never seems to end. On weekdays, I normally work for the Children's Literacy Foundation in the morning, then switch to New Degree Press and hold meetings with my students in the afternoons. Then, once I decide I've done enough editing student work for the day, I transition to working on my own writing until I can't focus anymore. There's always more work to be done and I could go from the minute I wake up until I go to sleep, but I might just lose it. It can be harder to carve out time for yourself these days, when work is right there at your fingertips, begging to be done.

My husband's boss reminded him to take mental health breaks, so he occasionally takes half an hour to play video games. We usually walk the dogs together in the afternoon, when I need a break and to get outside. Then it's back to work. For me, work ends when I close the computer and start making dinner, which relaxes me and gives me something purposeful to focus on. Cooking is the way I wind down from the day and it marks my transition to being "off." We usually turn on Chopped while I cook, then watch a few episodes of Newsroom before reading in bed.

In these days when it can be difficult to distinguish your working day from personal time, it's important to mark the point where you say "I'm done." The work of an artist is never finished, but you need to be able to come to a point where you can leave the work and relax. With all the stress of these times, we need to claim some time for ourselves.

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