Five Things I Learned From Doing Nothing Extra, For a Week


I've been in a funk, these last few, months. Anxious feelings regarding time, health, money, career, and future has put me into a bit of a tizzy. Attempting to fix this, I first tried to push forward; forgetting the anxiety, the doubt, and charging on. When that didn't work, and I was left feeling more defeated than before, I was left with a question a best friend and I had asked one another, a couple of weeks ago, "Why does it take a tremendous amount of effort to feel content?"

After tuning into this question again, last week, I knew what I needed to try next: absolutely f*ing nothing.

Below is a list of what became evident, after doing so:

1. Work doesn't care (or notice) if you're on or off.

This can sound pretty grim, right? And I admit, it kind of can be. But this can be a good thing, too. Remember, if you're having a slow day (or week, or month or quarter), personally, don't let it worry you. Chances are work doesn't notice whether you're on or off, so don't worry so much about getting every last email sent in the next two hours, or chiming up in every meeting. Give yourself time to relax a bit, and just be. With an overachiever personality this can be difficult, right? I know this firsthand. But ask yourself this question: "If I don't do this, will anybody notice?" If the answer is no, set it aside for a while and chill out.

2. You don't need to do all and be all.

It's hard when everyone, everywhere seems to be though, right?! Yeah, I get that. What if you forgot all about them, forgot all about your to-do list, and just focused on the basic needs, each day. What NEEDS to get done? Food, yes. Laundry, maybe? Errands, probably. Mowing the lawn, not necessarily. Make a list of priorities and number them 1-3. 1s get priority; those need to get done. 2s maaaybe, and 3s only if you have time. Give yourself time to focus on the 3s on a weekend, or a time you are a bit more flexible, and ready, mentally.

*A side-note on doing all and being all, from a mental standpoint. I know, firsthand, how draining it is to feel the need to constantly run yourself ragged trying to get somewhere, be someone, or get something accomplished. Remember this, nothing is going to get accomplished WELL if you do it in a hurried manner. If you're busy comparing yourself to someone else who SEEMS to be doing it all, unfollow them, or stop looking.

3. Naps are life. Take more of them.

What do you do after work? Are you exhausted when you get home? This week, I purposefully didn't schedule anything right after work and napped, instead. One day, it was for two hours; another day was thirty minutes. Yesterday, it was 5 minutes before the dogs barked and the phone rang. Sometimes, your brain (and body) just need a little recharge. It doesn't need to be long, and in fact, sometimes it's better if it's not. The next time you find yourself stressed to the max, turn the lights off, draw the shades and give yourself a little siesta time. Set your alarm if need-be. You'll be amazed how better life seems after.

4. It's great to be inspired. It's fine not to be.

This hits home more than anything else. We live in a society where everyone is pressured to be their most creative-self, always. Overthinking, overworking, always focused on that up and coming next step or project. And when the juices are flowing and we're feeling like we're really making headway on a project or idea, great! HOWEVER, please remember that even the most creative individuals have periods of "blah".

It's okay to wake up and not be looking forward to anything. It's okay to feel like you're in a rut. It's okay to not know your plan for career, family, money or even what to make for dinner, that night. The majority of life isn't glamorous, or inspiring. They're those little, inside puzzle pieces; while frustrating, trying to piece together, absolutely part of the whole picture/design.

Embrace your "blah", whenever you're experiencing it.

5. Self-care isn't all bubble baths and massages.

Today, I was chatting with a friend about doing the bare minimum. At first, I used the phrase "lazy" (which is one we like to joke about, often). However, as soon as I mentioned it, I came to a beautiful realization: doing the bare minimum is what my mind and body NEEDED, and therefore, that wasn't lazy at all; it was a form of self-care. And honestly, the best form of self-care out there; one that didn't require money, or added time.

To me, that's what self-care really is; those choices you make for the greater good of your mind, body and soul. Yes, it could be a bubble bath, at the end of a long day, or treating yourself to a spa-day; however, so often it's the even smaller, more essential things, like saying "no", sleeping in, staying home, eating outside instead of in, flossing your teeth, adding cinnamon to your coffee, doing NOTHING. The tiniest changes, add-ons, or take-outs. Sometimes, the best form of self-care is eliminating.

Why is it so hard to find satisfaction in being ordinary?

For me, this is the biggest struggle. It's hard to stay still and "be", because I want to be more than that; I want to be extraordinary and shine in everything I do; I want to do what everyone else is, and more. Perfectionism at its worst. However, by recognizing that the constant drive to be extraordinary might be affecting my health, as a whole, I've been able to dial that back.

Do what you can, with the time you have, and don't get so caught up in doing more, all of the time. You're enough.

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In the words of Fred Rogers, "You don't ever have to do anything sensational for people to love you. When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see, or hear, or touch."



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