Lately, I’ve been keeping myself busy even though I just ended my final project and I am not too sure if I am okay with that. Maybe, maybe not. There is this funny thing about me where I would keep myself busy and then get exhausted and overwhelmed by daily busy schedules, tasks, to-dos and things to get me going, simply said. I may not enjoy the process of being busy so much but I do enjoy the outcomes of getting things done. It is fulfilling although tiring.
I love being quiet, being able to unplug and recharge and just take days off sitting by the window, drinking a warming cup of sencha and top it off with a wonderful playlist. There is nothing as valuable as some inner peace and tranquility or just getting down and heavy with my favourite films, books, or even getting out for a walk in the park and cycling in the neighbourhoods. It is vital to me, especially an introvert like me, who could spend ample time on my own for a good time of relaxation.
The funny thing I want to point out is that by doing so, every minute, every second I am fully aware that I could be wasting time. It gives me some sort of unexplainable anxiety deep down. And I hate that, I also hate that I can’t stop feeling this way.
I think as far as modern society goes, we have grown so used to being busy, its almost like a cult. A cult of busy—which taking time off makes you feel guilty. Society demands us to achieve, achieve and achieve, I am a victim of that. I have grown so used to this mentality that doing nothing alone, spikes up my feelings of uneasiness and anxiety. You squeeze everything out of every living minute; you’re speed-crazed, time-obsessed, tech-dependent, and a productivity freak. To complicate matters, you’re flooded with time management techniques to help you be more productive every day of your life.
But having some down-time (whatever that means for you) is not a waste, even though you might think it is. Having nothing to do for a while is the ultimate luxury of our modern days.
I do not want to sound like a complaining child because I know people would tell me to embrace this gift. There are a lot of people who are the opposite and find it hard to motivate themselves.
Truth is, I don’t feel that I am incredibly fulfilled and happy even when I am busy and I do not feel okay with being free either. It is a constant tug-o-war of my wants and desires. How do I define what makes me happy, is it being busy and productive or self care and personal needs. Is it too greedy to want both? Maybe that is why I am writing this post in the first place because I am also trying to find out while I recollect my thoughts.
I’m graduating, have nothing much on my mind that needs to be submitted, at least at the moment, no deadlines to fulfil yet I feel this curse of uneasiness. Dammit, I could hear the echo of my friends and family telling me to just let myself loose and I am not supposed to feel guilty about doing nothing all day. Am I? Do I have to “accomplish” something in order to be worthy? Why can’t I feel good about myself if I just spend the day doing nothing much at all? What’s with all the guilt?
Doing nothing is often unfairly labelled as being lazy, but in fact it’s probably the best thing that you could do sometimes. A recent study led by scientists at University College London found that individuals who work over 55 hours a week increase their risk of having a stroke by 33 per cent compared to those who work 35 to 40 hours a week.
And another study spanning over 50 years of research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that a ten hour or more workday increased the risk of coronary heart risk by 80 per cent.
Basically, science is telling us that we should be resting more, and we’re happy to get on board with that. Most of us spend majority of our time at work, commuting to work and back, or thinking about work. So why do we feel the constant need to always be doing something, rather than having a well deserved rest? What ever happened to being able to relax, without feeling guilty about it?
All in all, I think it is still ultimately important to care for yourself. Perhaps, the resistance of having downtime and an inner critic show up because of fear of failure. The fear of letting myself and others down. It was such a good reminder that between goal setting/achieving, work, exercising etc there’s a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed. Letting go of your to-do list and simply just be. Ultimately I want to do the things I do because I enjoy it, not because I have to. And I guess I like to keep it that way.
Rest and best of luck, everyone.