The art of doing nothing

The recent spring snow storms of Colorado have reminded many of us to slow down.  I've even heard from clients, "the snow storm allowed me a weekend to do nothing". Wait just a minute!!!  WE can give ourselves permission to slow down, relax, "do nothing", etcetera etcetera.   And we should!  (Many of you know how I feel about the word "should", and... I will still use it here).  

My wise uncle recently told me, during a conversation about my move to private practice only, that it's also okay to do nothing sometimes.  A good reminder for me too!  Most of us live in an environment that promotes go go go.  "Doing nothing" appears lazy, like something we are only allowed to do if we take a beach vacation.  Our minds and bodies actually NEED down time to rejuvenate.  We truly can give ourselves and others permission to relax and revive. 

How do we do this you ask? 

1) Take a mental health day (sick day) from work.  If you were throwing up and/or contagious from the flu, you would stay home, correct?  How is feeling mentally unwell any different?  Take a day to heal your mental health just like you would your physical health.  Doing this from time to time actually reduces our chances of getting serious mental or physical illnesses that take us out for weeks or longer at a time.  Ideally, we would work a mental health day per month into our schedule....ready to go for it?

2) Prioritize your mental health/need for relaxation as you would your physical health. If you injured yourself, would you pay whatever necessary to heal it through doctors?  Same philosophy as above...if your mind or body feels injured from stress, depression, anxiety, just the go go go of it, heal it!  Rest. Comfort yourself. Pamper yourself. Check in with a mental health professional or other healer. Rest. 

3) Make relaxation part of your routine as you would exercise or the like. We don't have to wait until we are feeling mentally unwell to rest. Work it into your schedule! This can look like a few minutes a day, when you take the time to breathe and stretch. This can look like a weekend a month to do something you truly want to do- whether it be binging on Netflix or hiking a 14er. Remember, relaxation and rejuvenation looks different for each of us. 

Feel like that's a good start to give yourself permission to go do nothing for while?  I hope so. 

I'm off to do a little nothing.....