Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 253: On Downtime.

By: Jen Shoop

*Image above via Alice Naylor-Leyland. I mentioned some of her gorgeous table linens yesterday!

My Latest Snag: Little Treats.

My favorite buys this week were my new calligraphy book and calligraphy pen set (have always wanted to learn — why not now?) and some new fitness gear. I shared all my favorite exercise finds yesterday but am especially excited about my new hot pink sports bra and mint green fitness top!

You’re Soooo Popular: Brights, Fitness + Food Storage.

The most popular items on le blog this week:

best sellers the fashion magpie

Not seen above but also very popular this week:






Weekend Musings: On Downtime.

I am still mulling over the fascinating and nuanced comments in response to my post on self-care, downtime, and mom guilt. One quote I came across this week that led me back down that thought trail:

I find this to be true, even in the sense that I often take a scheduled break during my day to run an errand, fold laundry, organize a corner of the house, take care of administrative business like doctor’s appointments and returns, etc., because I have learned that I need that “inactive” time to let things marinate. Sometimes my best writing happens when I’m driving to the dry cleaner. If I am running dry, the last place I should be is sitting at my desk in front of a blank page. This isn’t exactly what Austin Kleon is getting at, I don’t think. I think he means that people need time to “turn off” and “recharge” — not “be creative in the background,” which is more or less what I’m saying. Perhaps that’s nit-picking, though, because the point stands, whether or not you are in a creative field: it is healthful and generative to take breaks and, as he puts it, “do nothing.” The problem, I think, is that very few of us feel we can take time to “do nothing,” and for a number of reasons — inherited work ethic, frenzied and overscheduled days, guilt about taking time for ourselves as moms (specifically: guilt about leaning on other people to care for our children while we are taking time for ourselves), logistical complexity.

I shared the above quote on Instagram and one Magpie replied: “I am currently finishing my counseling degree. Counselors have an obligation to self-care — it’s actually in our code of ethics. It’s helped me to take time alone to be quiet with a little less guilt.”

Now, of course we are not all counselors working with others through difficult times, but I thought the fact that, as a profession, counselors have determined that it is productive, healthy, necessary to take time out for themselves was an encouraging endorsement of the practice more generally.

I don’t have any great answers, unfortunately, as to how to find the time and the childcare and the grace to give yourself “guilt-free downtime.” But perhaps, if you are able to elbow out some room for yourself, you can revisit some of the thoughts in this post or the comments in the previous post and remind yourself that it is OK to do nothing at all. You need time to sit around and do nothing.

Shopping Break.

+This popular tote is on sale!

+This pennant would be absolutely adorable for a little boy meeting his baby sibling for the first time, or for a newborn photo shoot with big brother in it.

+I can’t believe how popular this ski jacket was this past week. If you’re heading to the slopes, this is a cute base layer!

+This simple LBD is SO chic.

+Granny-chic loafers to pair with fresh denim.

+Still time to order this beyond adorable heart dress for Valentine’s Day for an LO. More heart-centric finds here.

+This blouse is absolutely gorgeous — and under $100.

+I have a few of these hinge lid storage bins in my bathroom — great for things like facial cotton, razor blade refills, tampons, etc. I’m thinking these open-top bins would be a great compliment for organizing some of my shampoo/shaving cream/toothpaste etc backstock. (Costco life! Such a change from NYC, where I rarely had a back-up for anything — all hand to mouth!)

+I love a leopard moment. This would be great with booties and a little black cardigan right now.

+This pastel dress is gorgeoussss!

+Love this seagrass stool.

+Everyone needs a chambray top.

+Have been eyeing this tiered midi all season long. I love dresses like this at the moment. So easy to wear, loose-fitting, but pulled together. They work with boots or flats!

+Obsessed with this $30 (!) sweater. Also love this embellished gray one.

+Mini adores her new rainboots. They are on a tiny price break at the moment!

+This button-back sweater is fun in the cream/blue mix.

+Such a pretty color palette.

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2 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 253: On Downtime.

  1. Some quick thoughts on downtime and creativity – I read an article a few years ago about the need for young children to have unscheduled downtime in order to unleash creativity. The notion of not allowing our children to be bored, constantly scheduling or coming up with things for them to “do” is actually stifling their creativity and development of their imaginations. It makes sense that the same would apply to us as grownups! So much noise surrounding all of us, pressure to “do” rather than just “be” at times. After the last two years especially, I think we all deserve some downtime. 🙂 xo H

    1. Hi Heidi – So interesting! I certainly feel this was the case when I was growing up. My mom insisted we not only “go outside and play” or “go downstairs and play” all the time (i.e., — go make something up!) but also had an hour of “quiet time” every afternoon. We hated the latter when we were younger but grew to appreciate it for so many reasons. That was when I first started writing, and reading heavily, and the practice made us respect that everyone needed their own space and time. I think all of my siblings and I are very creative. I’m not sure where it comes from but certainly having that structured hour of “alone time” to read/write/tinker/play by ourselves gave us the space and time and encouragement to explore.


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