Your Best Self-care Tip May Be Doing Nothing

We’re at the crossroads again: a new year, new promises, new shoulds and pressures to strive higher and harder to “be more, do more and have more.”

We’re told that bigger dreams and bodacious goals get realized when we push the limit.

But is this really the only way to get there?

I mean seriously: Are your body and spirit deeply crying out to hop on the treadmill, both literally and figuratively right now?

Mine aren’t.

Think how out of sync a busy calendar and pushy task list really are in the month of January.  Are Mother Earth and her creatures scrambling around like maniacs to get everything done while they hunker down?  Nope.

We’ve just bustled through a full and hectic holiday season (ok, perhaps less so than those of 2 years+ ago, but still).  Winter weather has set in which means snow and cold for many of us.

 

 

 

 

 

Then January 1st hits the books and we’re supposed to wake up bright, perky, and fired up to set the world, our business, and our health on fire to the highest and healthiest heights.

Are you sensing a disconnect and incongruency here?  Some cross-purposed energies, perhaps?

Think about this for a moment: December 21st was the first day of WINTER.  Not Spring.  Not Summer.  Winter – a time to pull in, tuck under the covers, reflect, get quieter, sit still, rest, recharge and engage in gentler, slower activities like reading, sipping a great mug of tea, writing, handicrafts and naps!!

What if easing into the new calendar year this way was the ticket to more fulfillment, enjoyment, peace and prosperity?

What if savoring our days and their offerings by being fully present for each experience vs. hustling through the task list every waking moment brought us closer to ourselves, our dreams and our world?

What if taking stretches of doing nothing (however brief or extended) resulted in richer outcomes than we ever imagined?

What if, indeed.

I experienced this quite intensely in November after returning from 2 marvelous weeks in Italy.

Part of any “away” time I take is followed by a day or two (or more), of a blank calendar; a time when there are no ‘out there’ commitments, no To-Do lists, and little to no connecting with other people.  This delicious time is all mine to simply BE as I soak in, reflect upon, and write about my experiences and perceptions garnered while away.

During this integration and recovery time, I allow my body, mind and spirit to dictate what’s next: It’s 3:30 p.m. and I’m so wiped out that I have to lie down and sleep?  Sweet dreams.  It’s 1:40 a.m., I’m wide awake and famished?  Chow down!  Muscles and limbs feel stiff and yearning to stretch and strut?  Get on the hiking boots and head out the door!

This “after party” time following my Italy trip was blissful and rich.  No social media, no phone calls, no work agenda.  And boy howdy did the slow and quiet time provide space to receive some big abundance!!

One phone call from an acquaintance resulted in 2 new healing clients, followed by 2 ceremonial clients confirmed a week later.  WOW, this practice works!!!

Now I’m not advocating for a slothful, undirected or mindless life with this occasional practice of slowing down and quieting.  Nor am I guaranteeing spectacular gifts to roll in like those I received.

But I know these periods of quiet stillness help us come back to our center to see, feel and discern what is essential.  And I propose there’s no better time to do this than amidst winter’s unhurried season.

So, in addition to visioning your year ahead with its goals and dreams, pull out your planner and schedule in some nothing time that’s free of the external noise.  You never know what goodness may come to grace you.

All photos Copyright © Heather Michet 2021

Here are some great resources to guide and support you in taking slow, quiet and restorative time:

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May

Daring to Rest by Karen Brody

(This post first published at Romancing the Genres January 29, 2022)

6 Responses to “Your Best Self-care Tip May Be Doing Nothing”

  1. Clare

    Well said Heather. I couldn’t agree more, and like you, have found that slowing down in winter, and allowing things to come in during planned quiet time have both been really beneficial.

    Reply
    • Heather Michet

      Thanks so much for reading my piece and commenting, Clare. Isn’t it amazing how rich and full “nothing time” can be? I’m so glad you’ve experienced the gifts and blessings of quiet stillness.

  2. anne richardson

    Well said Heather. I love Katherine May’s book and reread it again this winter. I find intentionally “wintering” deeply restorative. Living in the Pacific NW with its long, dark nights and natural seasonal rhythms helps maintain a slow pace. Feel blessed I have space to honor the seasons.

    Reply
    • Heather Michet

      I just finished reading the section about “almost morning”, “first sleep” and “second sleep” in Wintering, and found it so confirming and helpful. It was great to read her spot-on descriptions about the wakefulness time during the latter hours of a night’s sleep. Your act of ‘intentionally wintering’ is wise and I think needed outside of the season of winter when we need to mindfully slow down, listen and breathe. May all your winters, in whatever season they occur, bring you peace, insights and a deep connection to self and the divine. Thank you for offering your practices to us in your comments.

    • Heather Michet

      Thank you so much for reading, Charlotta, and for commenting!! I’m glad you found the post helpful or enlightening or both. Be well.

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