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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