I’ve learnt something in this week of taking care of myself: often the most loving thing to do is simply to give yourself a break. While I’ve enjoyed taking time to do some colouring, watch a movie or treat myself to an unhealthy snack, some of the most helpful things I’ve done this week were just taking time to sit or have a nap. Essentially… the most helpful thing I did was to do nothing at all.
Regardless of whether you’re taking part in this challenge or not, I think it’s helpful to remember that you don’t have to be up and about doing things all of the time. I know people who run around constantly working, meeting up with people or volunteering, and while this is all good stuff to be doing it can wear you out. It’s important to have those moments where you sit by yourself without feeling pressured to be productive with your time. It’s okay to take an evening off and just have an early night, or sit in the bath until your toes get wrinkly. This doesn’t make you weak or lazy, it just means that you know how to take care of yourself.
This is especially important if your mental health causes problems sometimes. I know that if I spend all of my time doing activities I get exhausted and spend a couple of days completely unable to do anything. This isn’t because I’m weak or pathetic or because my illness makes me less able than anyone else. It’s because I have an illness which I need to manage, and if I don’t manage it well then it’ll start to affect my daily life. That’s why taking time out is important, if we do it strategically without waiting for it to become a problem, we’re less likely to experience the problem at all. It will make it easier to manage the illness and lead a regular life.
So whatever you’ve planned today, I’d urge you to remember to block out some time just to rest. To make sure that you’ve taken a little bit of time to do nothing.