On Friday I jumped at the opportunity to housesit for a friend, packed up my backpack and my sleeping bag and shifted in for the weekend. I got there, put on my PJs, wrapped every blanket I could find around me and snuggled up on the couch to watch a solid few hours of Netflix.
The next day, I shoved those creeping feelings of “I’m not doing uni work” guilt to the side in favour of brunch, pasta and Mean Girls. I danced around the house. I made tea. I also broke down and spent a good half an hour crying in bed. I wasn’t sad; it was my body expelling pent up emotions when it was finally given the chance to rest.
This is the first time I have had proper uninterrupted alone time in months. It was desperately needed and it was bliss.
I genuinely think that we don’t give ourselves the time or opportunity to really relax in our own presence. Some people have mastered it, they will prioritise alone time to do something that relaxes and calms them, I am definitely not one of those people. I have a daily list of tasks to complete and if I don’t get them done I feel guilty and anxious, the things on the list get added onto the next day’s list and so on and so forth, usually until I break. Even when I do get the opportunity to curl up and relax, I’m thinking about what I need to do and how to achieve it. I’m constantly in action.
It doesn’t help that I am a definite extrovert. I gain energy and joy from other’s company, so I will almost always be around people. But even extroverts need a little bit of alone time to replenish, take a moment and recharge.
When you are properly relaxed your thoughts have more coherence and are concentrated, it’s almost like we need to be relaxed in order to have our best clarity of mind. Do you ever find your best ideas come to you when you are just about to fall asleep? That weird point where you let your unconscious slip through into your consciousness often brings huge lucidity to thoughts that have been clouded by, “I need to do my groceries, washing, finish that assignment, clean my room, feed the cat etc etc”.
Sure, stress is important too and pressure will bring those clear thoughts to fruition, but there is a difference between good stress and unhelpful stress.
I have decided to stop letting myself get so worked up about the little things that I have to take a significant amount of time out from my daily life to recuperate. My new goal is to take ten minutes of the day just for me, to relax and to unwind. My ten minutes is going to be filled with calming breathing, maybe with a candle burning, and a moment to write down what I am thankful for that day.
Yesterday I was thankful for my family, my brilliant life and my wonderful boyfriend. Just writing it down made me feel so blessed.
This might sound a little too on the spiritual side for some people, I am a spiritually connected person. This is in no way a groundbreaking idea and I definitely have borrowed this idea from somewhere, but if you took ten minutes out of the day for yourself, what would you do? Maybe it could be making a cup of tea and drinking it alone, completing a crossword, reading the paper. Whatever you do, do it for you.
Life is too busy and too stressful, but I think we put that pressure on ourselves; or at least exaggerate it. It is important to rest and to be more present in the moment. We only have one life, why rush through it?