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Relax, damn it!

It’s been one of those weeks where getting work done has been hard. This isn’t to say I’ve been lazy- I’d argue that on the contrary, I’ve gotten a lot of work done- it’s just not something most people can see. I finished another module for my CMC program (and started to print/read my next modules readings), kept up on my spiritual direction work, cleaned parts of my house that really needed cleaning, prepared my kids for returning to school (this includes shopping!) and preparing for my youngest homeschool work.

Relax? What is that???

I attended class, meetings and have spent more time than I care to admit pondering what my next steps are. And there’s a lot of emotional stuff going on, both in my personal life and in the world. In truth, I’m pretty exhausted this week. So why do I question how much work I’ve done, and if it was enough? Why do I get frustrated with myself because I only got to one blog post, posted little to nothing on my instagram, and didn’t schedule any classes?

And it’s never limited to just this scenario- it’s something constant. When we were camping, sitting down and just enjoying nature. I’d sit for a few minutes, then get up and move something around- rearranging the camping bins, hanging up towels (or even just adjusting them so they would dry better!) or preparing for dinner- even if it was 1 or 2 o’clock in the afternoon!

Most likely, the reason I do this, and you probably do similar, is that we as a society are told to do as much as possible, and that some of the above things I listed aren’t considered “work.” Clean my house? Dealt with emotional stuff? Prepared homeschool curriculums and lesson plans? Prepared for kids to return to school? That’s like the everyday stuff that can get ignored when we compare it to “business” or “actual work”. We as people should be all go go go go, right? Profit and tangible work, that’s “real” work.

Well, most of us know it’s bullshit, and that includes myself. And yet, the guilt can be there. Giving space for relaxing is actually really difficult for me, particularly relaxing without guilt. If I decide to pick up my Nintendo Switch to play a game, I feel guilty, as if I’m doing something wrong. How dare I relax with something as frivolous as gaming when I could be doing work of some kind? Even if I’ve been working for hours, that feeling that I’m committing some sort of crime creeps in. Sometimes I can even end up pacing my house, or searching the web for information relevant to my business or educational interests.

More time for independent reading would be nice...

The worst part is that because I’m tired, searching on the web is a mindless activity- I might come across something interesting or even useful, but I’m usually unable to focus enough to use that information in a meaningful way. Because being mentally exhausted is a real thing. It takes away from my focus, my train of thought, even my brain power. It makes me less productive.

So what’s the lesson? Give yourself permission to relax. This is another form of self-care. Chances are, you haven’t been as “lazy” as you imagined, and even if you were, perhaps there is a reason! Maybe your body and mind are telling you to slow down. This isn’t just applicable to your work, but to many aspects of life, including spirituality, mental health and even physical health.

Give yourself permission to not do anything for a set amount of time- an hour, 2 hours, even half a day or a whole day. Hell- if you can, take a whole week off if you need it. (Hello vacation!) I know that it’s not always possible, but even just an hour will help a little. Go, play a game, watch tv, read a book, even coloring, sketching, or painting and do it without guilt will make you feel better. Chill in a hammock, drink some coffee or tea, and relax! Rejuvenated, even if it’s only by a little. Make it a part of your self-care regime- as important as drinking water and healthy food, taking a walk and getting enough sleep at night.

And now that I have my blog post written, I plan to go and enjoy my weekend.


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