I’m sure you’ve seen the posts on social media with folks touting #TeamNoSleep, #HustleHard, ”I can sleep when I’m dead” and all of these other ridiculous phrases that make people seem like they’re doing more than they really are. They shame those of us who can be honest and real about our lives into feeling inferior or as if we’re not doing enough. So we work harder, pick up more projects, join more networking groups, stay up later – whatever it takes to “make it”. I can’t lie and say I haven’t bought into these life draining notions. I have. And it has caught up with me tremendously. Over the past few weeks I found myself hitting a brick wall. It was literally as though I could not think or focus. Every day I woke up wanting to do something, desperately feeling like I needed to be productive. But I had nothing to give. Many days I cried, laid in bed in the dark, tried to pray, yet nothing. I’m so used to doing something all the time that when I literally had nothing to do I was grasping the air trying to find anything to do. In the brief moments when I could quiet my mind down from worrying whether I had missed something or beating myself up for feeling lazy, I heard the Holy Spirit say “rest.”
This is the part where disobedience leads me down a dark path. I knew I should rest and quiet myself so that I could hear more instructions, gain my sanity and really just refuel myself. But I didn’t. Again, I kept grasping for something to do. And when I wasn’t trying to occupy myself other people were calling with things for me to do and I couldn’t seem to say NO. Because I should be #HustlingHard on #TeamNoSleep! I can’t let time slip through my fingers and I’m not doing anything! This ended in a downward spiral that led me into depression. I wasn’t feeling as though I was being productive or moving toward my goals. The truth is, I wasn’t trusting God in my affairs and somehow thought if I did more I would get more results. The little motivation I did have I lost and I just ended up spent. I’m sharing this because I want to help someone NOT do what I did. I also need to expose what has been going on with me so that I can have the accountability of others. When you keep things secret and suffer in silence you give the enemy of your soul a stronghold to keep you in a dark place. But I can’t stay here any longer, so you are my virtual accountability partner.
So, what do you do when you don’t want to do anything? DON’T DO ANYTHING! I know this is contrary to popular belief, but I’ll risk being controversial if it helps someone. We have become a generation of movers, shakers, and doers. But we never find the time to simply BE. We’re no longer present with our families or friends, let alone ourselves. Every time you look up there’s an email to answer or conference call to attend. At some point we have to refuel ourselves or much like my experience, there will be nothing left to give. Many of you may be thinking like I was “but HOW? HOW do I just stop when I have all of these things that could be done?” It’s not easy, but just like anything else, if you plan for it and make it a practice it becomes easier. So here’s what I am dedicating myself to do.
- I am setting my out of office email response so that people are aware that I am not available. I will only check my email once per day so that when I return I am not overwhelmed. Also, in case there are any real emergencies that I need to address. (A real emergency is a fire at the office, someone is stranded, trapped or dying, or something else of that magnitude. Anything else, they can figure it out until you return).
- I am going to find a peaceful place outdoors to get some fresh air, listen to nature and think about nothing. Finding quiet time always soothes the soul and allows my mind to take a break.
- I am not going to allow myself to feel guilty for taking time to take care of myself. If someone has a problem with it, it is their problem not mine. Times like these bring into perspective who is really there for me and who is there for what I have to offer.
- I will close all tabs on my browser, exit all programs and turn my computer completely off. I’m sure it needs a break too!
What other ways do you have to unplug and relax? I need to add other methods to my list. Share your self-care regimens below in the comments. If this helped you in any way, let me know. If my suffering was for someone else then I’ll know it wasn’t in vain. Take care!