I’m on a winter vacation from work, as the University where I am getting my PhD practically shuts down the days leading up to Christmas through New Years. It is rather nice to have the opportunity to recharge during this time, as well as spend some extra time celebrating the holidays with my family and friends. The excitement I felt leaving the office on the day before vacation peaked the Monday after Christmas when I found myself at home in my pajamas, my brand new laptop opened (thanks hubby) to a Married to Medicine Houston marathon in the middle of the day. It was amazing. I couldn’t remember the last time I was so completely mentally free, without anything that needed to get done. Christmas was over, and my next real commitment isn’t until New Year’s Eve for an overnight family function. By Tuesday, I exhausted most of the TV shows that had been waiting for me unseen all of these last few weeks of putting in long hours at work, so I turned my attention to cleaning my house. By Wednesday, I had already a good 3/4 of the overall house cleaning that I was planning on doing finished, and then that’s when I started to get kind of antsy. I spend so much time working on various projects throughout the year, that having day after day off and more importantly I think, unstructured days, creates an environment that is actually less than relaxing. I know that might not make any sense, and it definitely speaks to the notion of doing for the sake of doing (the powerful cult of busyness that I write about here), but I was left more unsettled thinking that the reason that I was feeling deflated and bored after only five days off work is because I am addicted to just doing things.
I try to be selective in how I spend my time, and with whom, and even though I have many different things going on at the same time, it never quite feels like I am doing them just to feel like super woman. After giving it some thought throughout the day, it hit me that I was feeling bored and restless because of how little of the time I feel bored and restless. I am in graduate school, married, have pets, a house to take care of, serve on several committees, and write this blog. I am constantly in a state of doing. By the time I reach the weekend, or an extended vacation I am tapped out of ideas or effort to come up with things to do that will allow me to feel truly restored and relaxed besides sleeping in, which I do take some extra joy in doing. I am not addicted to doing, I just don’t have any idea what to do when I technically don’t have to be doing anything. This is deceiving though, because even doing nothing requires doing something, or at the very least, not doing some things. Cleaning my house top to bottom, definitely not very relaxing. Catching up on TV in my pajamas while eating the leftover stocking stuffer Christmas candy, absolutely delightful. Without an idea at the very least of the kinds of things that I would enjoy doing during this downtime that will also increase my relaxation, I am left with a lot of mindless activities that do not necessarily make me feel restored. So I did one of the things that I do best, and made a list of as many activities that I find relaxing. My goal is that when I have exhausted my more go-to options of napping, or reading that I can turn to my list for some inspiration. Here I am sharing a condensed list to get you thinking in case you find yourself with some time on your hands not just in these last few days of 2016 but in the year to come.
-get a massage, draw or paint, play with pets, sit on the porch while drinking morning coffee, re-watch favorite episodes of TV shows, get a manicure/pedicure, call a friend, do a few yoga moves to get blood flowing, try a new recipe, go for a long walk, craft a brand new cocktail, stay in bed and read