Do Nothing

In a few short days my life is about to get extremely busy. While I would like to say that I am approaching the busiest I’ve ever been, thanks to the minimalist practice of eliminating the unimportant this would be a lie, so I refuse to mislead you.

Regardless of the exact details, the truth is that I have undertaken a course of action that will occupy a significant portion of my time for the next several years. At the end of this journey I will have achieved my life-long goal of graduating college so I consider the effort worthwhile.

It would be easy to fill the days leading up to my term. I’ve a house to maintain, a book to write, a blog to maintain, and a myriad of other items I would like to accomplish before I start this adventure.

Instead, I scheduled a day to do absolutely nothing.

The act of doing nothing can be immensely beneficial. It allows us to refresh both mind and body, recharging us so that we can regain the energy we need to keep moving closer to our goals. While you may not be able to do this very often, schedule at least one day a month to do nothing. One day a week is ideal but in this modern age that can be difficult to achieve. If you have children to care for you may not be able to spend the entire day relaxing (children need both food and supervision) unless you are fortunate enough to have someone in your life who will watch over them while you rest. If you don’t have someone who can watch them, take them to the park. They get to play and have fun while you sit on the sidelines and relax. It won’t be perfect but it will be better than nothing. I used to take my Katie to the local parks on a regular basis in order to recharge.

When you institute a day of doing nothing into your schedule you will discover that you feel better and have more energy. Your mind will be clearer and the tension you didn’t realize you were hoarding in your muscles will ease. Your immune system will improve so you will fall prey to illness less frequently. This will result in you having to take less time off of work or reduce the times you have to work while ill.

I highly recommend it.

How to Do Nothing

Schedule a day off from work (you can use your normal day off to do this). Warn your family and friends in advance since they might become concerned if you don’t respond to their calls or messages and wonder if you are feeling ill when you don’t climb out of bed first thing in the morning. The goal is to reduce stress, not exacerbate it with the frantic concern of others.

If you don’t feel that those around you would understand you can use the Stealth Method: tell everyone that on this certain day you will be immersed in a project and unavailable. This is the method I personally use. Since I have a habit of limiting my daily communication when I’m immersed in a writing project they don’t think to question when I announce that I’m scheduling an entire day for this.

Turn off your alarm clock the night before. Put your phone on silent or turn it off entirely. Mute all notifications from Messenger apps that you have on any of your devices (computers too). You can completely disconnect your Internet if you don’t use it to stream music as well, but this is not required if you mute all of your notifications.

Right before you go to bed the night before, take a long bath or shower (your preference). Dress in something comfortable that you can lounge around your home in the next day. Light some comforting incense, turn on some soft music (I recommend Weightless by Marconi Union), and go to sleep.

When you wake up do not hop out of bed immediately. Just lie there and relax. Note any thoughts that travel through your brain but don’t act on them. Just let them flow. If you find any of your thoughts creating stress, focus on your breathing as you think about how nice it feels to rest. You have nothing to do today so just be.

In time you will find yourself growing restless. You will have to use the bathroom or will want a cup of coffee. This is perfectly normal. Your body is accustomed to constantly rushing so it won’t be used to taking a vacation. Get up, do those simple tasks, then curl up in a comfortable chair or go back to bed.

Ignore the dirty dishes. The world is not going to end if you skip them for a day. Just stretch out and savor the luxury of not having to do anything for a change.

While it is perfectly acceptable to read during this time, resist the temptation to turn on the television. The last thing you want is to waste your day of rest on mindless drivel designed to sell you something by making you feel inferior. That said; do not read anything related to your daily life. Read something soothing, inspirational, or completely fictitious.

Take deep breaths and long naps. You may discover that the only thing you want to do is sleep and that’s okay. In fact, chances are high that the first few times you do nothing that your body will demand it. As a whole we push our bodies hard and rarely give them sufficient time to recharge, so ignore the voice in your head that tells you that you need to get things done.

Give your body what it needs instead.

Do not go shopping with your friends. Reschedule your Tinder date. Skip the coffee shop latte. Just stay home, relax, and do nothing.

At the end of the day turn your alarm back on but don’t bother with your phone or your notifications. You can restore those settings tomorrow when you rejoin the chaos.

After you schedule your first day of doing nothing, send this post to your one friend who works far too hard. Tell them that the world will not end if they take one day to care for themselves for a change. If that person is a single parent, volunteer to watch their children during the time. If you are both single parents, offer to take turns so you both can rest.

Above all, remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, no one will.

Wishing you peace and happiness,


Last night I face-planted into my computer keyboard.

That was a definite sign of why I’ve become so grumpy and frustrated as of late. I’ve pushed myself a bit too hard again, sacrificing sleep for my goals.

I have really got to establish some limits here. While I’m happy that I am more productive than I’ve been in quite a while, I do not want to push myself so hard that it negatively affects my health.

On another front, a friend of mine has decided to create some goals of her own. Like mine, her goals include increasing her current income and establishing passive income.

She has heard about some local factories that may be hiring, so we have made plans to apply together at several places as soon as our days off match up. We can split the cost of fuel if we work the same shift, which will buy me some time to build up the extra funds needed to comfortably purchase a vehicle and pay for the higher insurance that I’ll be charged for the first year.

This has the potential of helping both of us if we work together. It would propel both of us income-wise, into “lower middle class.” While she is currently right on the border of that based upon her gross, I make a bit over half of her current income, so the financial change would be dramatic for me.

I would be forced to work a bit less on my studies (and my book project) but the increased income would greatly benefit my long-term goals.

That is a sacrifice that I am willing to make.

In the meantime, I clocked out early from work today since we were really slow, came home, and took a long nap. I need to start taking care of myself if I want to do this.

The Process of Recharging

Day by day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.

Émile Coué de la Châtaigneraie

I sleep in when I can. I rest instead of endlessly working. Bit by bit, I can tell a difference.

Instead of scolding the dogs for their excitement in the mornings when they wake me to go potty, I gather my coat and take them out without a word.

Instead of sighing in frustration when my co-workers page me for help at work I cry “help is on the way!” and race to the front with a laugh.

Instead of internally bitching when someone wants a few minutes of my time on the phone or in-person I give it to them. I limit it, as I’m still drained, but I’ve regained enough energy that I can safely give something back.

When I have a small spurt of energy I get up and do something that needs to be done. Last night as I visited with a friend I noticed that my dog’s collars needed washing so I pulled them off and scrubbed them while we chatted.

Five minutes later I was one task closer to catching up on my backlog.

The fridge is slowly getting emptied of the detritus the kid left behind. Her little Katie-piles are being dealt with as I stumble across them.

I’ve brainstormed one thing I can do now to improve my quality of living and I’ve taken steps to make it happen. I’ll cover that in a future post when it is more than just a plan.

I’ve even went back to tinkering on my plan to reduce my smoking. I’d started on a plan before things blew up around Thanksgiving but let it go due to the chaos that surrounded me. Now that things are calming down, I’ve gotten back to work on my goal of being a nonsmoker.

Last but not least, I’m processing my emotions with my journal. I fill several pages a day with random thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I find my thoughts repeating. I dutifully jot them down regardless. The very fact that I’m noticing the repetition is a good sign.

I suspect that my internal battery had been operating in the red zone for quite some time though life had been a bit too chaotic for me to notice it. I’ve been pushing myself quite hard for a couple of years now in order to make up for time lost back when I was injured, and even harder once I’d decided to teach myself about investing while focusing more on this website. Between that and everything else I suspect I’ve been heading for this physical and emotional crash for quite some time.

And that’s okay. It’s okay because I’m taking steps now to correct the issue, and I’m aware of the fact that I need to slow down, which makes me a wiser person.

I’ve got something I want to do. I’m not letting go of that, but I’ve realized that in order to accomplish that goal I’ve got to take care of myself now in a way that I’ve never really been able to do before.

So I am still here, and I am still fighting. I will do whatever it takes to achieve financial freedom, and I still intend to take you on that journey with me.

This is part of the process.

Are you still working towards your goals? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Practicing Selfishness

It has been six days since I watched Katie leave with the recruiter. Five days since I saw her last, on the day she shipped out to BASIC. Four days since I’ve had any contact with her.

And I’m doing perfectly fine.

I’ve not had a day off work since last Tuesday, the last day I saw my little girl. One of the kids quit at work, so my schedule was adjusted to take up the slack. The change was exhausting on top of everything else (I’m still recovering from the Crud) but I’m not complaining.

I’m actually thankful for the busyness.

That said, I’ve still got a lot on my plate right now. Not only am I adjusting emotionally, I’m recovering physically from illness (101F temp at its worst). I’m also dealing with family and friends who are more than a bit concerned that I will go batshit crazy now that the kid is gone.

Among the well-meaning suggestions I’ve received:

  • You need to get a car so you can get a better job now.
  • You need to relocate to another part of the state so you will have better access to jobs/opportunities/housing.
  • You need to relocate to (wherever) so I can help you recover and so you won’t be alone.
  • You need to find a good man to take care of you.

There have been more but those are the highlights.

It’s been more than a bit annoying. They mean well, so I accept their suggestions with a polite nod and continue on.

Instead of heeding their suggestions, I’ve been politely distancing myself from them.

My first priority is to take care of myself, so I have been selfishly doing just that.

I allow myself to sleep in every morning. I need as much rest as I can get between my work shifts in order to recover physically.

I’ve paused all reading and research. I’m still thinking, but at the moment I’m no longer actively collecting knowledge concerning my goals. I want to be rested both mentally and physically before I continue.

I’ve limited my housework, as well as my writing. I do the basics in order to keep from falling behind but I’m not going to worry about the other stuff at the moment. I’ll get to it when I feel a bit better and my schedule eases.

I’ve readily accepted rides to and from work. I need to conserve my energy so I’ve shoved my pride into my pocket and allowed myself to take advantage of every single offer. I’ve even asked for rides a couple of times. While I don’t intend to make bumming rides a habit, I am wise enough to understand that the less energy I expend, the faster I will heal. I compensate my friends for their help, of course.

In short, I am being selfish. I am taking care of me. I am refusing offers to go out after work for shopping, meals, or a drink at the local watering hole. I work, come home, and rest.

And I patently refuse any attempts to persuade me to do otherwise. I don’t care how well-meaning the offers may be, I know what I need right now, and I’m going to get it. Period.

Sometimes you have to be selfish. Sometimes you have to ignore the well-meaning offers and suggestions on how to better your life. More times than not, you know what you need better than anyone else. In that case, you have to stand your ground.

You have to take care of you.

How are you taking care of yourself lately? Are you practicing selfishness in order to get the rest you need? Please share your stories in the comments below.

A Bit of R&R

I had the house to myself during my day off yesterday. I woke up early, knocked out my daily tasks, and then curled up with my current book.

It was so pleasant to simply exist. I didn’t have to go anywhere. I didn’t have to do anything. I could simply be…

…Until the messages and the phone calls started, that is.

I did what any woman who needs some time to herself should do. I muted the notifications.

The world carried on just fine without me. No major disasters happened because Annie decided to tune out for a day. This girl got to enjoy some serious “me” time uncomplicated by the drama of others.

It felt good.

Have you ever decided to just take a break from Life for a day? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Lazy Yet Productive

My days off were split up this week so instead of resting the first day and working on my house the next I was forced to get creative.

My challenge was made even worse when I woke up on my day off feeling lethargic with a scratchy throat. I’ve pushed myself far too hard these past few weeks and my body was paying the price. I still had stuff to do, however, so I decided to power on.

My first order of business was to eliminate distractions. I turned off the Internet and disconnected my gadgets. I did not want or need the temptation to go online to distract me.

My next order of business was to create my task list. I noticed with a tired sigh that it was a long one. I’ve let things slide around here lately.

I picked one small item on my list and did it. I still had a bit of energy left so I knocked out a few more of the simpler tasks. Satisfied that I had made some progress, I read for a while and then took a short nap.

I repeated the process all day. Complete a couple of tasks, read, rest, repeat. I made the deliberate decision to postpone several energy-intensive tasks but I accomplished quite a bit nonetheless. Even better, my slow, deliberate pace allowed my body to recover a bit while teaching me an important lesson:

It is possible to be both lazy and productive if you use your time wisely.

While I didn’t tackle the physically intensive tasks on my list I was satisfied with my progress just the same. I could have powered through and worked through the entire list but I would have suffered for it the next day. I see no logic in being deliberately stupid. I have to pace myself.

Have you ever had to force yourself to slow down? Please share your stories in the comments below.