In Need of Self-Care? Try Doing Nothing

Over the past couple weeks, I haven’t been functioning. I’ve really just been getting by. It didn’t help that I had started my period, I’ve taken on a big new role at my gym, my toddler has been sick, and I’ve been having fear about some of my own medical tests. It all culminated in the middle of last week. I had a heart-to-heart on the phone with my mom which involved me completely breaking down into tears when she asked, “When was the last time you meditated?”

She was right. She’s always right.

Looking back I suddenly see that I have not been making time to just sit and “tune in.” I’ve been searching for every excuse to not feel the feels, which has led to some anxiety as a result. I’ve been busying myself with any excuse to work and keep my mind busy because I couldn’t justify “doing nothing” for the sake of better mental and emotional health. Ironically, most of my recent work has been revolving around helping women in my wellnes group focus on self-care.

I haven’t been listening to my own advice.

A social media friend shared a post the other day that self-care is about doing things that help you “feel good in between luxuries” which struck a chord in me. I thought I was doing enough for self-care, but now I see that I have been ignoring my mental and emotional cues that were telling me otherwise.

For example, a cup of tea at night might help me settle down for the evening, but drinking it while mindlessly scrolling Facebook or working on the new BodyPump release before bed was really presenting no benefit. My sleep has been suffering because of it.

I was taking baths at night but I still had my laptop popped open and was working on the next email or blog post. I wasn’t allowing myself to fully relax.

Looking back now, I see that I was rarely ever allowing my brain to just stop and be. I’ve always been focusing on the things in front of me for self-care: TV shows, my blog, other blogs, social media, news outlets, audiobooks, podcasts. All of those things have an appropriate time and place as part of a self-care routine, but they shouldn’t be the only things.

I used to meditate every day and read Tarot cards and light yummy-smelling candles and focus on re-centering myself. Meditation practice helped me feel confident, energized, and empowered. But since I became a BodyPump instructor and have been teaching classes at my local gym, a lot of that has fallen away because I’ve been too focused on the next thing I needed to prepare for: planning/training/teaching/blogging/posting/hosting/showing up for others. Because of that, I have been experiencing a lot of self-doubt and anxiety. And I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt fully present in the moment.

I’ve mentioned before that self-care isn’t always about facials, hot tea, and massages. Like Naomi said in her Instagram post that I shared above, it’s about doing things that help you feel good in between those things. And for me, I wasn’t allowing myself to sit down and do nothing, which was everything I needed.

This is my message to you: self-care isn’t solely preoccupying our brains with “happy things.” It should also include times where we allow ourselves a moment to do nothing.

When was the last time you did nothing, truly nothing?

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