Like many of you out there, I’m a doer. More accurately, I identify as an overachiever – a woman with big dreams and high aspirations. If you’re anything like me, you love crossing off items on your to-do list and feeling like you’ve accomplished something in your day. You love the idea of feeling productive, like you’ve made a difference.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being driven, there comes a time when that very ambition can drive you to overwork, overextend and overdo- a classic tendency of the overachiever. But what if doing nothing at all could actually be everything you need? What if the most productive thing you could ever do for yourself is to stop, take a breath and, God forbid, relax?
I often feel an intense pang of guilt when I attempt to relax. I often have to call my best friend and “ask permission” to do nothing, as if relaxing and taking a break meant I was “slacking off”. As an overachiever, the thing I hate the most is feeling as if I’m not working hard enough. Can you relate?
But what I’ve come to learn is this: unless you give yourself permission to restore, look inward and recalibrate your energies, it would be impossible for you to be 100% present to step in and show up for your purpose. After all, how can you inspire others if you yourself are left feeling uninspired? How can you give and serve others when you yourself have nothing left to give? So many of us push ourselves to the limit, not realizing how burnt out we’ve become before it’s too late.
Right here, right now, I invite you to join me in making a very brave and important decision: to be still and do nothing at all. Nothing at all?! Yes, I know, it sounds so decadent, so luxurious, so… irresponsible (as our overachiever consciousness likes to make us believe)! But I’m convinced that the time will come when it will be the most responsible and practical decision you can make for your professional and personal health.
You see, sometimes, being productive doesn’t always mean that you have to be the one who gives, and who produces the work. There are times that being productive can also mean you are taking the time to soak in knowledge, absorb inspiration and allow yourself to be refilled. As one who identifies as a creative being, the process of absorbing is a crucial one, a process that I often forget to do because I am so obsessed with output and immediate results.
Consequently, I push myself to my limits and find myself running on empty. If you find yourself doing the same, it may mean it’s not only time to give yourself permission to take a break, but to incorporate relaxation and proper rest into your lifestyle so that you can prevent burning out.
So today, I urge you to take a deep breath, exhale and allow yourself to be fully present in the moment. Know that whatever good you are doing in the here and now will inevitably create a powerful future. The present moment holds all the power for a prosperous future. Although you are so used to doing and achieving, it is equally as productive for you to sit back, absorb, learn and take in all the inspiration the present moment has to offer.
I’ve recently taken my own personal sabbatical, and indulged in some of the most delicious “do nothing” activities. Feel free to take some of my own suggestions from my own experience as of late. I’ve taken the liberty of listing them below:
1. Instead of waking up to your smart phone and checking your email first thing in the morning, go outside and give yourself time in the sun and outdoors. When doing so, pay attention to the wind kissing your face. I swear, it’s so calming, it makes you face the day with unbridled optimism.
2. While we’re talking about the outdoors, I strongly suggest going for a hike and/or finding a beach to run alongside.
3. Research a new recipe and prepare a dish you’ve never made before.
4. Read for fun. Pick the book or magazine you often pass up because you’re too tired.
5. Watch your favorite TV show- it’s how I discovered Amanda, and now I’m ignited with so many ideas, I can’t wait to get back to work!
6. Go to the movies by yourself (trust me, it’s the best thing ever), or indulge in a few Netflix or DVD options.
7. Go to the coffee shop not to work from your computer, but for actual leisure- go there with a book you actually want to read.
8. Call a friend or a family member you’ve been out of touch with.
9. Take naps! By golly, naps are magical and so, so, so luxurious.
10. Write love letters to yourself. Thank yourself. Honor yourself. Most of all, remind yourself how proud you are of the woman you’ve become.
You’ve done so much to get to this point, and yes, you deserve a break. Because sometimes, doing nothing allows us to make passageway for blessings to arrive. You may find that it may just be the most productive thing you’ve ever done.
And before you know it, you’ll be ready to take on the world again, more energized and excited than you’ve ever felt!
Featured image via SheKnows.com