Recently I have come across quite a few articles about self-care, some of which I found helpful and yet majority of which did not really stick with me. “Do yoga for 15 minutes first thing in the morning,” “make your favorite tea and have a quiet time,” and “a bubble bath at the end of the day,” etc. These are all nurturing activities that can reduce your anxiety level and help you feel replenished on a daily basis.
What I would like to point out is a different kind and seemingly easier way of self-care: Non-doing self-care. Have you ever felt overwhelmed just by thinking that I need to do one more thing to release the stress from doing too much? I have. Squeezing in more in the to-do list requires adjustment, rearrangement, and let’s not forget, courage, especially so when it is something you are not familiar with. This is one of the reasons why most of the suggestions do not stick with me, and if you are like me, you might be feeling guilty about “not doing enough self-care.”
On the other hand, choosing not to do something that does not serve you is a great way of self-care, because it eliminates the source of stress and opens a space for choice and freedom.
So here is my list of non-doing self-care ideas:
- Not writing a blog post when I am not in the mood (yes, mood is very important in the production of a good blog post).
- Choosing not to cook dinner because I feel tired and overwhelmed.
- Choosing not being on Twitter because I have more than enough screen time and my eyes are not getting any younger.
- Saying no to a party that makes me nervous just thinking about being there.
- Not doing chores or quitting it half-way (when it can wait) because I have other things I want to do.
- Choosing not to have dairy foods (I am allergic to dairy) because I care about how my body feels, not because I shouldn’t.
- Choosing not to reply to a friend’s email because I don’t see any value in maintaining the relationship.
What we often miss when it comes to self-care is that a shift in perspectives on “why” can make a big difference. If I feel guilty about not going to a party and feel like a loser because I am not a people person, the decision is rather a source of stress. In the meantime, if I refused to go because I am aware that the anxiety is overwhelming and overweighs the benefits of going, then not going serves the purpose of taking good care of myself. The bottom line is that making the decision out of a caring heart makes it a self-care act.
As I grow older, I realize a tremendous value in only keeping what works for me in my life. A wise elimination is in fact a great habit to develop, and the truth is that we all practice this non-doing self-care at times without even realizing. What is in your non-doing self-care list?