Just stop. Because you can, and it’ll all be ok.
So, yesterday I had a day off. I stopped.
Well actually, it was more of a grinding to a halt than a conscious decision to apply the brakes but the outcome was the same.
I hadn’t had enough sleep, had a nasty sore throat, and a decidedly twingy knee after getting a bit over zealous on my run the day before.
There were numerous things that I should have been doing: housework, ironing, digging over the rest of the raised beds and getting some plants in, general tidying up, the list goes on.
The gardening was out as I knew I needed to rest my knee if there was any hope of it recovering for my next run in a couple of days time. (Hark at me, the person who until a month or so ago hadn’t exercised regularly for years!) And frankly, I was feeling pretty rubbish and the prospect of tackling anything else on my list would have made me feel worse.
So I just stopped.
I spent much of the day in my reading nook in my bedroom, with my knee propped up on a pillow, listening to classical music and reading magazines. I got through two glossy monthlies cover to cover.
This. Is. Unheard. Of.
(It should be noted that I also had a day off from nagging my son about his screen use. He thought it was Christmas! It’s something I’m usually pretty hot on as I think young brains need a whole host of other stimulation rather than just that from a screen and too many parents use screens as a babysitter. But….. it meant he was quiet and occupied so I let him. Just for the day. Because it suited me. I know, the Hat of Hypocrisy fitted me well!)
I rustled up food at appropriate times and we managed a gentle stroll to the shop (to stock up on ibuprofen) so at least we did leave the house for a short while.
And you know what?
The world didn’t end.
My life didn’t fall apart. Nor did my son’s.
No harm was done.
It was all ok.
I seem to spend way too much of my life working against the clock. There is always something that needs doing. I never, ever, get to the end of my To Do List.
The strange thing was that while I was reading my magazines I had a couple of flashes of insight about some ideas I’ve been mulling over for a while – completely unconnected to whatever I was reading at the time. It was as if my subconscious mind was busy beavering away on them in the background while my conscious mind was otherwise engaged and not poking its nose in where it wasn’t wanted and clouding the issues.
I think there’s a lot to be said for this approach.
OK, maybe stopping for the entire day is a bit indulgent, but every now and then really doesn’t hurt. And the benefits of doing so are valuable.
You just need to give yourself permission. It really is ok.
I think us women in particular are really bad at this. And we’re really good at feeling guilty about it.
We pride ourselves on being the linchpin that holds everyone else’s lives together, whereas actually, the wheels aren’t going to fall off if we take our eye of the ball for a few hours.
No-one is going to think badly of you. (Granted, they might think it odd if it’s as rare an occurrence as it is in my house, but it’s good to keep people on their toes, right?!)
It’s all about getting realistic about exactly how crucial the things on your to do list really are. If it’s not a matter of life or death you’re probably ok to postpone it for a day.
You’re not a machine. You need a bit of down time every now and then.
And, shock, horror, you could always ask for some help!
So, tell me in the comments below, what would you do if you could please yourself for a day?
(Previously published on alittlebitofpeaceandquiet.com May 18, 2015.)