Go Ahead. Indulge.
Most of us are quite good at taking care of others. Our children are our priority when they’re young, and our parents take center stage when they’re old. In our professional lives, our clients, members, employees and constituents require tending to in various ways. These relationships give our lives meaning and for which we are grateful.
However, being grateful doesn’t preclude the need for giving ourselves a “time out,” a break from “doing” to just “being.” We need to press our personal pause button. We need to do… nothing.
Are you spending more and more time daydreaming about lying on a beautiful beach? Picnicking at the top of a scenic lookout point? Stargazing far away from the city where the sky is the real planetarium?
These daydreams are lovely, but you don’t need to turn them into reality to achieve the desired outcome. I love beaches, lookouts and stargazing, but you can achieve the same results by allowing yourself to stay where you are and do… nothing.
That’s what I did on a recent Sunday. I woke up in my comfy bed, blankets piled high, two dogs sound asleep next to me, and my husband already downstairs reading the paper. I had a lot to get done, none of which I felt like doing in that moment. So what did I do?
I did… nothing. Literally. I decided to stay in bed. I wasn’t tired, but I knew I needed to grant myself permission to just “be” rather than “do.” I wanted time away from my “shoulds” and go only for my “wants.”
My sweet husband brought coffee and the newspaper upstairs for me. We chatted. I had my phone and my Kindle. I read and shopped, and even bought a dress online. I meditated and mentally crafted a letter to the editor. I posted to Facebook and emailed a friend.
By early afternoon I had had enough. I felt clear headed and relaxed. My “shoulds” became my “wants,” and I was eager to write my letter to the editor, draft this blog, make a phone call, and return emails. I felt the need to move and stretch. My “to do” list went from feeling daunting to energizing.
My indulgence required no expense or travel. There were no grand gestures or proclamations. No advanced planning. I merely listened to my gut.
I strongly urge you to do the same. Really listen to what your body and mind desire. Your indulgence can be anything you want. That’s the beauty of a mini timeout: there are no rules. Sit on your porch and listen to the birds. Pull out your knitting needles and turn on your favorite music. Dance around your house and take a bow.
So, my timeout is over. I’m back! Now I’m excited for my dress to arrive.