It’s OK to rest

Even before Missouri, Michigan, and D.C. issued “stay-at-home” orders, Tremendousness decided that we’d all work from home. We can, so we are. And now we’ve been WFH for a HFW (Working From Home for a Heckuva-long Four Weeks).

Early on, I thought about what an opportune time it might be for people, myself included, to do new things we’d been putting off, or to approach old things differently as we found ourselves unable to go out like we used to. And for some, yes, this is as good a time as ever to be driven and productive.

But for others among us, again, myself included, after a few weeks it turns out that doing less feels more right. And that’s OK. In fact, it’s more than OK. It doesn’t mean I’m doing nothing, it just means I’m not guilting myself into doing more. These are trying times and trying too hard might not be the best approach.

So I’ve been doing less when not working. Spending my time on simple things—some result in something and some are nothing but a good break. I almost always have side projects going, but instead I’m focusing on simple ways to chill in quarantine… ways you can too. Here are my top seven:

  1. Listening | Try listening to music specifically designed to reduce anxiety. The band Marconi Union teamed up with the British Academy of Sound Therapy to craft what some call the world’s most relaxing song (here are some others).
  2. Making | Sew your own masks. It’s actually oddly meditative. Sure, it’s not actually doing nothing but you can do it while doing another kind of nothing—like binge-watching Netflix. The template from Craft Passion is the best fit I’ve found. What else works: collages, photography, furniture re-arranging, a purging of belongings, etc.
  3. Meditating | Start actually meditating. Headspace is now offering a collection of guided meditations called “Weathering the Storm”—for free. You can choose times from one to 20 minutes depending on your present ability to sit still, and hopefully work your way up. There are workouts and sleep soundscapes, too.
  4. Walking | Maybe you don’t have to start that hardcore exercise regimen. Maybe you should just get outside and walk or bike (socially distanced, of course). Walking is a kind of auto-pilot, and spring is springing here in the U.S. so many places are the prettiest they’ll be all year, and make for an incredible time to simply be present.
  5. Watching | Fire up YouTube and queue a bunch of OK GO videos, and just marvel at the fun and ingenuity. There’s something feel-good about every single one. It’s interesting to see what I take as the band’s determination and fatigue at the beginnings of the videos contrasted with their relief and jubilation at the ends. 
  6. Laughing | Dumb humor is a great escape. And my favorite smart dumb humor goes by the name MST3K. Mystery Science Theater 3000 (the originals and the reboot) delivers non-stop sarcastically critical one-line jokes on top of bad movies. There are a lot of episodes available for those of us with sufficiently absurd senses of humor. Plus, MST3K alums Rifftrax found a way to make fun of contemporary films!
  7. Understanding | Explore the situation—and yourself—by putting things in perspective. It might be hard to not be overwhelmed by the news… but it pays to stay informed, especially during rapidly changing situations.

Whatever you do, these days it’s OK to give yourself permission to do less in your time off. So do it.

Photo by siyan peng on Unsplash