So here I am, reveling in the afterglow of my 24th birthday and preparing for the delicious Thanksgiving feast that awaits me at my great-aunt's house. My home is clean and quiet. I haven't spoken a single word aloud in hours. I'm sitting on my couch and thinking to myself...
"This. This is bliss."
I spent my birthday doing mostly nothing. Ate some of my favorite foods and just hung out at home. I plan to spend today with family, and for the next three days, I'll be doing more nothing.
You might be wondering how I could possibly "waste" so much time when I could be getting so much done. Here's the thing: I don't glorify being busy. I don't need to constantly be doing "something" to feel productive or feel validated in the way I've spent my time. I have no one to answer to about what I do with my day, and I don't beat myself up if I go a full 24 hours in the same spot I woke up in. In fact, I welcome the peace and relaxation and am even better prepared to put in major work the next time I need to.
Productive is cute, but busy is unnecessary. Sometimes, you just need to chill.
One of my favorite books is Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. As she travels through different countries learning more and more about herself, she learns about "dolce far niente" - which literally means "the sweetness of doing nothing."
This particular concept changed my life, as I was able to see how much I was filling my time with unnecessary activities and self-imposed obligations for the sake of feeling like I didn't "waste" a day. We have been conditioned to feel bad if we aren't constantly in go-mode. Like there's something we're missing, or something we're not doing. When I could pinpoint and dismiss feelings of "not doing enough" or "wasting time" I could fully embrace the idea of just doing nothing. Such rejuvenation, clarity, and peace came to me when I made an effort to simply be, and do only the things that kept me in this peaceful state.
So why do you need to embrace this "dolce far niente"?
- Because the glorification of being busy is not helpful to you if you're burnt out
- Because you can't pour from an empty cup. You have to take care of yourself first.
- Because success is not always based on how many hours you put in
- Because it's necessary to unplug from the digital matrix
- Because you need all the hours of sleep your body can handle.
It is so important to indulge in ourselves and gives our minds and bodies what we need to be our best. If you're like me, you've been grinding all year long towards your goals and this time of year is when we start to feel all the pressure of needing to do more when really we need to do a whole lot less.
I hope that you find some time this season for some self-care and sweet nothingness, and wish you the happiest of holidays.