So. There is a saying that says "Work hard...play harder". As a young person, I lived my life this way. I worked to be my best at everything and then I partied to celebrate my wins. But, I was always, always exhausted. You see back then, I used to function under the societal expectation that every ounce of my time needs to be filled with some sort of busy-ness. From work, to civic duties, to motherhood, to partying with my friends, to any little thing that would make me appear and feel more productive. Do you know where that constant cycle of activity got me? With a pacemaker in my chest at 29 years old...more about that later.
If you are a self-proclaimed superwoman like me, then you know the feeling of needing to stay busy all of the time. You know...that thought pattern that if you don't do it, it won't get done. Or the frame of mind that if you aren't doing something, you are wasting time or being less than productive. This, in reality, is probably one of the most unhealthy ways of thinking that we can have. I mean, yes, we all have the same 24 hours in a day and we want to make the most of it. But, when did being run down, overwhelmed, and exhausted begin to equate success for us?
Seriously, how did we get to the space where if we don't feel like the world is weighing on our shoulders, we are uncomfortable and have to find something...anything...to fill that void. And most times that something is not really productive at all....just busy. I was recently working some overtime and one of my peers passed me and said "Geesh! How do you even have time for 'one more thing'?!" I can see where that thought came from. But, the difference now is that I don't do anything to just be busy...I only fill my time with the things that serve a purpose, a plan, or a promise that I have made to myself. But, one of the most important things that I fill my time with now is nothing.
That's right...that's what I said. NOTHING!
I have learned after my near death experience and even after further life lessons that there is so much power in those moments of nothingness. On one of my favorite movies, they talked about learning the art of doing nothing...being still. They talked about how in America, we do so many things to reward ourselves for constantly being busy, instead of making a life that does not require a reward for our exhaustion or that we don't need a break from. In the past year, I have made practicing the art of doing nothing one of my favorite self-care activities. Now, for me, doing nothing doesn't always mean being a blob on the couch binge watching movies...although, sometimes that is exactly what it means. LOL!!
For me, it means laying on my floor, listening to my favorite vinyl record, streaming my favorite playlist, sipping tea next to my favorite candle or incense, watching a storm blow in through an open window, stargazing on a clear night...simply sitting still and silencing the noise. For me, finding a moment of nothing everyday is a vital part of maintaining my mental health. There are even days that I call "stop days" where I (sometimes along with my daughters) will literally stay in my pjs, in the bed all day. Why? Because I need it. We all need it.
We need a moment and the space to reset. We need to be able to rest. We need to just be still. I encourage you to find a way to get comfortable with the art of doing nothing. Those around you may question it, may call you lazy, may challenge that you are wasting valuable time. You will even find that it is initially very, very uncomfortable because it is the opposite of what you have known. I challenge you to change that mantra that we all know so well. I challenge you to change your relationship with rest and the art of doing nothing. It is not a waste of time. It is a renewal of you...and in that renewal, you may just find, that it becomes easier to be productive and that you actually have more to genuinely give to yourself and others. You may even find a little more you.
I hope that you will start to "Work Hard....REST Harder" and that you find the space and the time to practice the art of doing nothing. It is the best investment of your time that you may ever make.
Light and Love....