Heading into this weekend I realized that I had nothing to do. Absolutely nothing. Nowhere I needed to be, no one I had plans with, nothing important that had to get done.
I can’t remember the last weekend that I didn’t have at least one thing to be at or to do. You would think that I’d be so excited to have a few open days and embrace the fact that I could just do whatever I wanted. But for some reason.. the nothingness made me anxious. What was I going to fill my time with?
I like to be busy. It’s weird because I get overwhelmed if I have too much going on, but the same thing happens if I don’t have “enough” going on. I get anxious because there’s just SO much time. So much time and I have no clue what to do with it. What was my routine going to look like this weekend? How was I going to stay busy?!? Even just thinking about the lack of busy-ness makes me anxious.
WHY is being busy so glorified? Why do we always feel the need to be doing something productive?
I think a lot of us struggle with feeling guilty for relaxing or having down time. We feel like there’s always something that we “should” be doing – but it’s more than okay to just CHILL sometimes. When you see peoples lives on social media 24/7 and they’re posting that they got up to workout at 6 am on a Saturday or that they stayed up till midnight on Friday working – it’s easy to compare. It’s easy to feel like what you’re doing isn’t enough because you slept in till 9 am and cut work off on Friday at 8 pm to relax and watch TV.
I know that I personally struggle with this a lot. I feel like there’s always something I could be doing to make my time more productive. Like when I watched an episode of my favorite show last night around 9 pm. I had been going non stop since I woke up at 6 30 am and STILL felt like I should be filling my time with something more productive than watching a tv show. But you know what? Sometimes doing nothing is productive. Sometimes you need that time to just be mindless and turn off school/work/any other obligations you might have. I find that when I’m going non stop for days in a row, I’m more likely to burnout quicker. I don’t want to force myself to be productive from the second I wake up until the second I go to sleep every day. Breaks and relaxing are HEALTHY. And they’re nothing to feel guilty about.
In a society that praises being busy all of the time I know it’s hard to feel okay about down time. And honestly, being busy is great. I love being busy – but we all need a break, and we all need to allow ourselves to relax. It’s no wonder we all have such high levels of cortisol (stress hormone!!) – we never let ourselves chill the F out!! Being busy isn’t a bad thing, but we glorify it so much and it becomes a problem when you feel guilty for not being busy. Like I said.. it’s hard with social media. I know it’s hard when you’re mindlessly sitting in bed scrolling through Instagram after waking up at 9 am and you see Sally who got up 3 hours before you, has already worked out, made breakfast and posted it on Instagram, ran a few errands.. etc. It makes you question yourself. “Wow should I really have let myself sleep in?” “I need to get up right away and get to work!!”. You always feel like someone is working more than you or harder than you and it can make you feel like you always need to be doing something. I sometimes tell myself that I don’t deserve to relax because I only did X Y & Z today while Angela accomplished 5x that amount.
But maybe Angela isn’t happy. Ever think of that? Maybe she’s SO busy and so burnt out and her cortisol is through the roof and she’s miserable and exhausted all of the time – aka the part of social media that isn’t always shown.
This weekend I’m going to bake some cookies. Make pecan butter cause it’s my fav. Sleep in. Go to the mall and shop around (and 100% leave empty handed because spending $$ is not my thing lolz). Go to brunch with a friend. Take my time in the gym because I HAVE the time for once. Are any of these things “productive”? Nope – at least not in the sense that we usually think of when hear that word. But in another sense, they are productive, because they make me happy. They’re productive in the way that they will leave me feeling good and recharged, and ready to get back to the busy-ness of life.
So, this is just your reminder to decompress. Relax when you have time to. Sit down and watch two hours of TV if you want. Stay in bed extra long when you wake up on Sunday morning. Take a nap in the middle of the day if that’s what you’re feeling. Bake cookies and have a movie marathon and stay in your PJs all day long. Whatever relaxation and down time looks like to you – DO IT. And don’t feel guilty because someone you see on social media is “doing more” than you or is busier than you. Busier does not = better.
Embrace the down time, and remember – what you are doing is ENOUGH.