One of the common struggles many of us may face is to stop, to rest, to do nothing. It may sound strange to write those words on paper. After all isn’t that what many of us are craving, to have a day where we can truly focus on ourselves and recharge? The truth is so many things get in the way and we also get in our own way. Here are just some of the things that happen, both externally and internally, that hold us back:
-Life gets in the way. We live in a hustle culture where there is this constant pressure to do more. We live in a difficult economy where the cost of living keeps rising. Employers are expecting more and there is less work/life with the use of technology and the expectations around always being connected.
-Our thoughts get in the way. You may be thinking that you can’t afford to take a day off because there’s just so much on your to-do list and the idea of taking a day off can bring stress when you think of your pursuit to cross more things off the list to feel a little bit more caught up.
-Our expectations get in the way. Many people struggle with unrealistic expectations of themselves and others.
-Our beliefs get in the way. A lot of clients I’ve worked with have talked about feeling that they haven’t earned a day off or that it is selfish to take time for themselves. These beliefs keep us stuck in a never-ending wheel of doing that can lead to exhaustion and burnout.
-Our guilt gets in the way. You may find yourself saying I shouldn’t have a day off without the kids. Or I should use this time to be with my partner or visit my parents or friends, invest in my relationships.
It’s time to recognize that we all deserve a chance to stop, that the right for rest is rightfully yours, because you are human and you are doing your best. We all need to recharge sometimes.
I was recently listening to a podcast episode of With Heart and Wonder on giving yourself a Do-Nothing day. If you haven’t heard of this podcast, it’s run by a local yoga instructor and creativity coach, Meghan Johnston and includes short and insightful episodes focused on wellness (https://www.meghanjohnston.com/podcast). In this episode (episode 51), Meaghan was talking about taking a day for yourself where you simply flow with a list of ideas on things that would be relaxing. Maybe reading a new book, going for a walk, taking a nap, doing yoga on your deck with a favorite candle. She had three great tips to help you plan and execute a Do-Nothing day: make a list of things that feel nourishing to you and that help you reconnect, tell someone about your do-nothing day and your list and ask them to check on you, and give yourself some grace and recognize your “why” (why are you taking this day, why does it matter).
What if you gave yourself this, a day of rest, of flow, of tuning in and taking care of yourself? This may not be feasible often, but what about even once a season or once a month if it’s something you can do? We don’t listen to our bodies and our intuition enough. Doing so, by taking time for yourself, can do wonders for your mental health and give you more energy. It can also do something else that is so worth noting: It gives you time to reassess and to tune in with yourself and how you’ve been feeling. In that comes an opportunity to find answers you’ve been looking for on what you need, what will help you achieve your goals, what will help you become the best version of yourself. The answers we are sometimes seeking come when we stop, when we make room for the quiet and the space to check in with ourselves.
Recognize what’s holding you back. Question your thoughts, beliefs and expectations. Know that you too deserve the time, gifts and care that you give to others.