Most of the time when people think of someone creating a resolution for the new year, it involves a positive change. Many people set resolutions in order to add value to their life in some measurable way – be it through exercise, travel, goal setting or whatever way they seek to enhance their life. Some people even choose a word for the year to inspire them. This year, I’m taking a different approach. I’m Marie Kondo-ing my year (I know, it’s totally overdone, but bear with me). But in order to do the hard work I need to do on improving myself, I need to chill out. I need to de-clutter my mental load and be still. I need to watch Friends on my couch and paint my nails. My resolution is to do less. Or, more accurately, to do more nothing.
You may be thinking: what in the world is this woman talking about? Well, in a world where so much emphasis is placed on hard work and hustle, people (read: me) have become conditioned to work hard and grind no matter what effect it may have on the human doing the hard work. Over the years, I began equating working hard and pushing myself with loving my family, which has become problematic for many reasons. I’ve grown to think that if I just try a little harder, if I just work a little longer, if I just put my nose to the grind stone and really work, I can alleviate my financial stress. Or my kid’s problems. Or my own unease with myself.
Sometimes, instead of using things commonly seen as maladaptive (like drugs / alcohol / excessive sex or shopping) to cope, we use things that are commonly seen virtuous to suppress our emotions or avoid problems. Some people (again, read: me) work too hard to avoid being with alone ourselves. We pour excessive time and energy into micromanaging our children in attempt to give them everything they need so that we can feel fulfilled. We externalize all the sources of our self-worth, therefore putting our perceived value in the hands of others. And in the long run, it’s terrible for our self esteem.
What effect has this workaholic lifestyle had on me? Well, I’m tired all the time. I struggle to feel comfortable with any down time I may have. I live a mostly-sedentary lifestyle and it’s unhealthy. Perhaps most importantly, I use work and staying “busy” as a way to suppress my emotions instead of dealing with them.
It’s for the best.
No, I’m not saying that I’m giving myself license to be lazy. I’m just allowing myself to be more human and less robot. This year, I’m going to say no more. I’m going to create boundaries for my emotional and physical workload. I’m going to value myself more by resting and focusing on myself and what really matters. I will be more intentional and less frantic. My family and I will both be better for it.