There was a time when I was an expert at doing nothing. I could spend weekends sitting in my room on my computer looking at nothing with the TV on in the background watching nothing. I could lay in bed for a whole day with nothing to occupy my time. At times, nothing dominated my life.
In recent years that has changed, partly because I started to make an effort to try and do something with my time. I was tired of wasting my life away on nothing. I realized the joy and fulfillment there was to be had by accomplishing things. It felt good to cross a task off my list or add a new talent to my repertoire. As much as I had liked being lazy and letting nothing take over, I liked having something dominate my time much better.
For awhile this attitude served me well. I was doing a lot of good. I excelled in my classes, I added new and healthy habits like exercising and eating well, and I was focused on helping others and not just serving myself. But soon a trade off happened. I started to feel guilty if I wasn’t always doing something or on the go. I feared slipping back into my lazy routine and worried about nothing creeping back into my life. I didn’t want to go back to being the lump in front of my computer or TV.
So I kept on doing something.
Even if that something was just standing up and pacing back and forth, I made sure I was involved. I made sure that nothing never occupied my time again. And you know what?
I got tired.
Go figure. If you’re always on the move and never resting you’re going to get tired. I seemed to think that I was the energizer bunny and could keep going and going. I let my fear of my life and habits of my past control my actions in the present. It was another time that I needed to learn about balance. You can’t just jump from one extreme to the next. You shouldn’t be well versed in the art of nothing, but you can’t be the master of the art of everything for long without burning out.
It’s ok to sit on the couch and relax for a few hours.
It’s ok to go for a long run in the middle of the week.
It’s ok to enjoy a book in your favorite chair for an afternoon.
It’s ok to kill a really tough strength workout.
All of these things make up a balanced life and that makes up a healthy life too. Don’t let one side of the scale dictate your life. It’s not an easy job and it’s something that I still struggle with daily. I have to tell myself to take a break, to sit down and relax. I don’t have to always be on the go.
Whether you struggle with doing too much or not doing enough, focus on taking small steps to find the right balance. You won’t always succeed and there will be days that you will have to pick yourself up and start over again. That’s what being human is about. Trust yourself enough to know that you are doing your best and next time you will do better.