When she found the old tired state coming on her again, she and her mother always “took a vacation,” and every time avoided the tired rut more easily.
If one only has imagination enough, the helpfulness and restfulness of playing “take a vacation” will tell equally well in any kind of work.
You can play at dressmaking—play at millinery—play at keeping shop. You can make a game of any sort of drudgery, and do the work better for it, as well as keep better rested and more healthy yourself. But you must be steady and persistent and childlike in the way you play your game.
Do not stop in the middle and exclaim, “How silly!”—and then slump into the tired state again.
What I am telling you is nothing more nor less than a good healthy process of self-hypnotism. Really, it is more the attitude we take toward our work that tires us than the work itself. If we could only learn that and realize it as a practical fact, it would save a great deal of unnecessary suffering and even illness.
We do not need to play vacation all the time, of course. The game might get stale then and lose its power. If we play it for two or three days, whenever we get so tired that it seems as if we could not bear it—play it just long enough to lift ourselves out of the rut—then we can “go to work again” until we need another vacation.
We need not be afraid nor ashamed to bring back that childlike tendency—it will be of very great use to our mature minds.
If we try to play the vacation game, it is wiser to say nothing about it. It is not a game that we can be sure of sharing profitably either to ourselves or to others.
If you find it works, and give the secret to a friend, tell her to play it without mentioning it to you, even though she shares your work and is sitting in the next chair to you.
Another most healthy process of resting while you work is by means of lowering the pressure.
Suppose you were an engine, whose normal pressure was six hundred pounds, we will say. Make yourself work at a pressure of only three hundred pounds.
The human engine works with so much more strain than is necessary that if a woman gets overtired and tries to lighten her work by lightening the pressure with which she does it, she will find that really she has only thrown off the unnecessary strain, and is not only getting over her fatigue by working restfully, but is doing her work better, too.
In the process of learning to use less pressure, the work may seem to be going a little more slowly at first, but we shall find that it will soon go faster, and better, as time establishes the better habit.
One thing seems singular; and yet it appeals entirely to our common sense as we think of it. There never comes a time when we cannot learn to work more effectively at a lower pressure. We never get to where we cannot lessen our pressure and thus increase our power.