Doing Nothing

I’m not naturally good at doing nothing. I am happiest when my hands are busy, or I’m using my brain, or both. However, it is possible for me to achieve a level of exhaustion where I can’t do very much at all. Sitting on the sofa either gazing out of the window, or with my eyes shut, has become a regular feature of my life.

It is restorative. There are degrees of being wiped out where it’s the only feasible answer. I’m used to being able to push through pain and weariness so it is still very alien to me to find I can’t – that I am also out of the resources that allow me to push when my energy is depleted.

Compared to many people with energy problems, I’m in pretty good shape. I can count on getting a few good hours most days. Compared with how I used to be, it’s pretty grim. I don’t know if I can slow or counter this decline. It isn’t hard to imagine that in a few years, if I keep deteriorating at this rate, I won’t be able to do much at all. I’m trying not to let that happen, and the best tool I have is to do nothing.

Sometimes that feels counterintuitive. We live in a culture where ‘doing’ is usually the proffered answer. Do more, try harder, try new things, take things, do yoga… except that doesn’t help. Doing less, and doing nothing does help. Not letting my unwellness be a commercial problem to solve by buying something, definitely helps. Resting rather than striving reduces the panic that having no energy causes, and panicking while having no spare energy is a really ugly combination.

Most mammals rest. Your average mediaeval peasant had more time off than your average modern person does. We are not designed to run and run forever, and trying to do that has consequences, even for people who were well to start with.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

7 responses to “Doing Nothing

  • DiosRaw

    Yes, eventually maybe we will all burn ourselves out living in this world at some point in our lives..

  • LaDonna Remy

    I think you have solid wisdom in listening to your own needs.

  • c

    Dealing with declining function and abilities is frustrating, but it also something all of us will face, sometimes slowly and sometimes more rapidly. I can see the difference each yea, and over several years it is rather shocking. Five years ago on Jury duty I had an hour lunch break, the nearest restaurant was four blocks away and I was pushing myself with my walker to make the eight block round trip and get a meal within the time limit. Nevertheless I made it with little strain and no exhaustion.

    Five years later and I would have difficulty walking two or three blocks.Ten years ago I could have walks a mile or more. So looking ahead is a bit frightening, but I will be forced to adapt as much as I can. Already I am mostly home bound, walking not much more than three hundred feet in the process of opening up, or closing up, opening and closing the chain gates at each end of my drive way, and turning around or replacing various signs. Also putting out eighteen pounds of bird seed and getting one to three gallons of water fr birds and various small wild animals as that gives me laughter daily, and necessity to survive, and making jokes about my disabilities because even that laughter is helpful in surviving the changes.

    On the flip side, watching the changes is in and of itself fascinating, as is watching how the body tries new ways to get things done. So far I have managed a cheerful frame of mind, for that too is a necessary survival tool.

  • jilldunnemsncom

    Very profound, thank you. It is very true I feel that I should always be doing something. I need to take time to relax. Isn’t it a shame when you find that trying to relax causes stress 🤔.
    Your wise words are always helpful and most welcome.

  • Kizzia

    This is what I’m struggling with at the moment, as is my mother whom I’m looking after. Thank you for sharing how you’re managing – I don’t feel so alone!

  • Managing the energy | Druid Life

    […] makes a lot of odds, and as I’ve explored in previous posts (Doing Nothing) sometimes flopping in a heap is about the only option I have. I’ve established that how and when […]

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