Hey Mom, Mommy, Mama … where is, what is, when is … Hey honey, hey employee, hey sister, hey friend … it can be exhausting wearing so many different hats. Often times we forget about the most important person, the most significant hat: “me.” Mom, I see you, I see me, I see all of us and we’re busy and tired and feeling overwhelmed. We’re constantly bombarded with messages about what we should do. Family, work, meals, exercise, and don’t forget self-care. Well, instead of internalizing all of those messages and feeling like there is one more thing you need to add to your “to-do” I have a radical idea for you: a Do Nothing Day, and you know what? You deserve it.
What is a do-nothing day? It is exactly what it sounds like, you do: nothing. That’s right, the only thing on your to-do list is “nothing.” I know to some it sounds scary, and a waste of time, but trust me on this one. It is well worth it.
My Do Nothing Day
I was feeling overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We had four straight days of family holiday gatherings including one on 12/26. I decided I was taking 12/27 off of work, sending the kids to daycare, and doing absolutely nothing. My day started with no clock/phone alarm (I have tiny human alarms that ensure I don’t sleep too late). My husband was working on my do-nothing day, but I decided to take the kids to daycare with an ulterior motive. I took a little drive to a not-so-convenient coffee shop to get an iced coffee as a treat. After that excursion, I went home, I sat on the sofa, I watched some TV, I took a 2-hour nap, I read a bit. My husband did daycare pick-up because it was my day. I did not cook dinner (we had leftovers planned). Basically, I spent the day like a child-less college student on winter break and it was glorious. I highly recommend it. I felt more like myself, I felt refreshed and recharged and I felt like every mom deserved a day like this. A day without responsibility and without the guilt of “doing nothing.”
Call it what you want. A do-nothing day, a mental health day, or don’t name it at all. But do it for you. Take the time off and let the guilt and regret go. Don’t waste vacation time and don’t save it all for sick kids. The therapist in me always thinks of the airplane cliché. If the oxygen masks come down; you put it on yourself before anyone else, or no one winds up with one. It is okay to do nothing. No laundry, no cooking, no cleaning, no straightening up. Yes, it does require some pre-planning. Requesting the time off, having food already prepared if that is one of your normal tasks, and having childcare. But, if you feel like you need permission (you don’t); here it is.
Yes, It is Self-Care
A lot of lists, people, and articles talk about self-care, and often times it includes doing something and taking up some mental capacity, or things like spa days & manicures. That’s fine if that is your thing and you have the time and money the capacity to add one more thing to your list, but what I like best about a do-nothing day, is there are no appointments to get to, no traffic to worry about, and there’s nothing. Glorious, fabulous, nothing.
So do it, take the time for yourself. If you start to have pangs of guilt about that laundry or those dishes; acknowledge it and then let it go. They’ll be there tomorrow, but your do-nothing day is about you and doing nothing.