Do you feel guilty when you take a little time for yourself? Do you feel like you are doing ‘nothing’, even though you could list a number of tasks you have completed today? Would you hate to bump into certain people for fear of having to explain and justify your way of life?
I have certainly felt this way, and I know that a lot of you out there have too. For those of us who are writers, or other creative types, a lot of our work gets done in untraditional ways, and cannot always be measured with a yardstick. In Western societies particularly, we are taught to measure only tangible outcomes. Otherwise, whatever ‘silly’ achievements we have made are worthless.
I have recently had a number of these ‘slow’ days, which I have dedicated to writing, planning or brainstorming my blog and where I would like it to go. Scoping out other blogs and discovering online communities to become a part of. Trying to think of fresh posts and points of view to explore. I would not be able to provide you with a balance sheet of the results of this work, but I can assure you that it has been worth it.
I was inspired to write this post after reading a post on the value of downtime on Three New Leaves, via The Broadside Blog. I love Matt’s realisation that we do not need to be productive all of the time. I completely agree, and am becoming increasingly aware of the necessity of relaxation and recouperation. By allowing ourselves time away from the ratrace, we are able to focus on what is truly important to our own lives.
The point that hit home the hardest was his saying that we need to stop feeling guilty. I too am in favour of this idea, despite having to constantly fight to feel okay about doing ‘nothing’. I think a lot/all of these feelings of insecurity about ‘not doing enough’ come from comparisons with others, and a lack of our own self-image. If we truly know who we are and where we are aiming to go, we can relax in the knowledge that we will get there in due time. More importantly, we give ourselves permission to to trust our abilities and talents, and to recognise the value in them. We all need to be okay with who we are and understand that we are all a little bit different. And that is fine.
Give yourself a break today. Take time to acknowledge the work you have done, whether it is writing, composing a song or a photograph, brainstorming career options or goals, building something, teaching people or simply having a day of rest. There is no need to feel guilty about giving yourself what you need.
Have a happy day and give yourself a pat on the back from me!