by Sue A. Fairchild

Last year, when my mom entered hospice care, I kept working. Although I spent much more time at her house helping her and my dad, I still found time to edit for clients when I could. I didn’t think this seemed too outrageous—I take my responsibilities very seriously. However, so many of my colleagues and friends kept saying, “How can you keep working?” or “You are made of stronger stuff than I am!”

Now, this year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve tried to do the same—keep working.

For freelancers, staying at home and doing our jobs doesn’t seem a lot different than any other day. I do admit I’ve wanted very badly to have tea or lunch with friends—those times often broke up my week and helped me to “de-stress” a bit. Yet, overall, my life has seemed pretty normal—especially compared to last year with my mom.

I’m able to work through the times of distress because I’ve added in a few consistent habits to aid me during these stressful times.

  1. Exercise regularly. Last year, when my mom first entered hospice, I started a walking regime because I needed a way to work out the stress of having an elderly, sick parent. I would get up every morning, put on exercise clothes, and go outside for a walk before I did anything else. Neither bad weather nor lack of a good night’s sleep deterred me. I simply got up and did it. I listened to music or podcasts while I walked. Pretty soon, my calendar was marked with the miles I had completed every day. I didn’t miss a day for almost two months even while my mom was sick. If I didn’t walk in the morning, I would fit it into some other part of the day. I strove for at least two miles each time. I’ve kept up this regime since June 2019. Some days it’s only a half mile and other days I do over three, but no matter what, I always try. Now, I have a new pup to consider and she makes sure we walk every day whether I want to or not!
  2. Get with God. We often draw closer to God when we’re suffering, and I was no different when my mom neared the end of her life. I would either listen to sermons online, read Scripture, or simply chat with God, but I made an effort to do something that connected me to the Lord every day. Without my relationship with Him, I would never be able to do the other productive things I accomplish.
  3. Be Okay with Rest. I think so many of us have been beating ourselves up for not doing “enough” with all this free time. Yet, our Father modeled rest for us in a variety of ways in the Scriptures. He took time in the Garden of Gethsemane to talk to his Father and rested beside the well in Samaria. As I told a friend the other day, nowhere in the Bible does it say we have to run ourselves ragged for the betterment of the Kingdom. It’s the exact opposite—God expects us to rest. We’re at our best and most focused when we’ve rested. I still get things done during my times of distress because I take breaks and find things to do that calm me. Not only does this help my mental health, it also strengthens my focus for when I am working.

On the outside, it might seem like I’m just a “nose-to-the-grindstone” type woman, but truthfully, I value the time when I am not working. Those times help me center my thoughts and refocus on what I need to accomplish—no matter what is going on around me.

Sue started out as a devotion writer, but now also claims the titles of editor, proofreader, webmistress, and writing coach. She is a freelance editor with Elk Lake Publishing, proofreader for Iron Stream Media, blog coordinator for the PEN Tips Blog, and webmistress for St. Davids Christian Writers’ Association. She has written and self-published four books as well as helped a variety of authors get their manuscripts into readers’ hands. Sue loves working with clients that are working toward the greater good of sharing God’s message in this world. Email or visit her website: Sue A. Fairchild