It’s Ok If You Didn’t Do Anything Today
Here at Valleys Steps, our goal is to teach people tools and skills that they can use to manage things like stress, anxiety and low mood, and to boost their wellbeing. Usually we do this by delivering free courses in Mindfulness and Stress Control in the community, but during the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve started to move online a bit more, writing blogs, filming vlogs and trialling live streamed sessions (which is hopefully something we can continue to develop and start rolling out). But today I want to talk to you about two things: rest and self-compassion.
I’m seeing a lot of posts on social media about things people can do during this time: get out and exercise, be creative, learn something new, cook and bake more, video call your family/friends, etc etc. Now this blog is not meant to be a criticism towards those people, all of these are great ways to boost wellbeing, and we’ve also been suggesting many of those things. However, I think it’s worth noting that for some people who are struggling a lot right now, the idea of learning a new skill, or going for a run, or baking some cakes is just too much to deal with; it’s too overwhelming. For some people, it’s a huge achievement to get out of bed, or to shower and get dressed.
Do you know what? It’s ok if “all you did today” is get out of bed and shower, it’s ok if you aren’t “doing as much as everyone else”, and it’s ok if you couldn’t care less about baking your own loaf of bread. I’m going to say it again, because it’s worth repeating: it’s ok. These are really strange and difficult times, and all of us are doing our best to get through the day and find the things that help us. Yes we want to do what we can to manage our wellbeing, and sometimes getting up and doing something helps, but I think sometimes we also have to honour the way we feel. If you wake up feeling rubbish, it’s ok to acknowledge that and accept it, without trying to force yourself to feel happy. It’s also ok to celebrate your own achievements, without judging them against other people’s. Ok your friend managed to make a michelin-style meal yesterday while you ordered a takeaway, and your other friend has been posting their daily workouts while you’ve been struggling to get outside for a walk. But the way I see it is showering is an achievement, getting dressed is an achievement, binge-watching a TV show you’ve been wanting to watch for months is an achievement, resting is an achievement. Let’s start celebrating ALL of our achievements, no matter how small they may seem compared to others.
I think this is a period of time where self-compassion is really important. Try not to criticise yourself if you couldn’t be bothered to go for that run you planned today, or if you struggled to find the motivation to do that online course you’ve been thinking about, or even if you felt too anxious or too low to do these things. We can choose to love ourselves, be kind to ourselves and just let ourselves be whatever we are in that moment. And maybe for some of us, this isn’t a time for “doing” loads. I don’t know about anyone else, but my usual life is crammed full of stuff and I’m always complaining I don’t get enough time to rest and relax. Maybe this is a chance to do that: to relax and recharge our batteries. Maybe our achievement will be leaving this lockdown feeling rested, rejuvenated and ready to face the world again. So, it’s ok if you didn’t “do” anything today, it’s ok to simply be.
By Bethan Jones
Course Wellbeing Practitioner