Health Coaching

Self-care without feeling Guilty

Should I feel guilty for doing nothing?

I just came back from a 3-day workshop. 3 days of extreme intense learning, processing

and deepening on a very personal level. It was an amazing experience and I feel completely fulfilled and very happy. But I am also beat. I am tired and I am exhausted.

The workshop was over the weekend and it was in a different country, so I had to travel and hadn’t seen my family all weekend. I had left my very capable partner alone with the very demanding children all weekend. He is beat too! I came home Sunday evening to a very tired man, but he had to work the following morning. No excuses. I on the other hand, was actually free to do nothing. I had no obligations or no appointments.

My house was a mess and there was a mountain of laundry waiting to be sorted, ironed and put away. There were toys everywhere.

My “should” and “could” brain was highly activated. I should tidy up the house. I should at least do the laundry. But I did nothing!! I didn’t even take care of dinner. My partner asked me to just clean potatoes and put them in the oven and he would take care of the rest. However, I was too exhausted to do even that!

I am allowed to do that? Isn’t it part of growing up that some things just has to be done? Shouldn’t I just be an adult and get off the couch and clean the bloody potatoes? I am sure this is what my partner was thinking!

Switching off my brain

There were moments of guilt, moments of “is this really fair”? I can lie on my couch all day and watch silly TV and totally switch off my brain. For some people this is impossible, but for me it is like taking a vacation. No responsibility, nothing I have to do, nobody I have to take care of. It was bliss.

Except when the moments of guilt came rushing through me. I was thinking of my partner who works endlessly. He goes to work, then takes care of the children and also has to deal with a very strong-willed partner which I think can be quite exhausting. But he never complains. The children were fine; they were off to school and day care. I had nothing to worry about.

My number one job

It probably isn’t fair. However, in my journey of self-care I know that my number one job is to take care of myself. If I am not there anymore or not really present, then I am of no use to my family, friends and colleagues. What I needed that day was to do nothing, answer to no one and completely switch off. So, I stayed on the couch. I did nothing. Who cares anyway? Nobody got hurt by the laundry not being done and nobody got hurt that the house was a mess. And my business didn’t suffer from me taking a day to recover.

Once I picked up my kids – yes I did do one responsible thing that day – I was there for them. I was tired, but there nonetheless. I think, if I had forced myself to work all day, clean the house and do the laundry, simply out of guilt for not being home during the weekend, I would have been so knackered by the time everyone was home and I wouldn’t have been able to be the kind of parent or partner I wish to be.

Therefore, the answer is definitely; that I should NOT feel guilty for doing nothing! Maybe not cleaning the potatoes was a little far stretched, but hey… what is done is done.

As I am writing this, a few days have passed and during the infamous “do nothing “-day, I was feeling a cold coming on. Now, however, after resting and taking care of my needs, I feel fine! Think about it!

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Anne Louise

Living with stress and anxiety is draining and unhealthy. My coaching program helps you listen to your body’s signals and find your balance. This way you will feel great, calm and more confident.

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