Yup. You read it right. I love Monday mornings. Weird, I know. I wake up at the beginning of a new week and can’t wait to get to work. I love my job and I know I’m extremely fortunate to be able to say this and mean it. My job motivates, inspires and excites me. You could argue that if I was doing something I didn’t enjoy quite so much, Monday mornings would be less appealing. There may be some truth in that. However, regardless of my circumstances, I have always been (and will probably always be) a Monday morning enthusiast…
During my school days, I loved Mondays and couldn’t wait to get back into the classroom for another week of education. As a student at uni, I completely went against the stereotype and my love of mornings continued; getting up early to crack on with my studies or to busy myself with part time work never bothered me.
My name – Emily – means industrious and striving. What’s in a name? Well, in this case the meaning of my name is very apt as I enjoy most forms of work. In trying to manage my struggles with anxiety and depression, I am trying to understand myself better. So, noticing my work-a-holic tendencies, I have concluded three things:
1) I like hard work (obvious really)
2) I like being busy
3) I like routine
“Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.” Winston Churchill
These things, in themselves, are not bad traits. Hard work, being busy and routine are all important. Working hard achieves things. Being busy involves you in things. And to an extent, we are all creatures of habit; so much of life is made up of routine, so better to enjoy it than resent it.
However, these traits do not always serve me well. You see, very often, it gets to late Friday afternoon and I start to panic. My week-day routine will stop. If I’ve got nothing planned for my weekend, fear of doing nothing will kick in. I wont know what to do with myself. I feel safe when I’m working. I know I can work well and I can lose myself in my productivity. But with no work to distract my overactive mind, I know I’ll start overthinking life. That usually spirals into a messy mass of uncontrollable negative thoughts. I’ll feel lazy and unproductive and that’ll make me feel rubbish.
I often hear people rave about the pleasures of ‘doing nothing’. For a long time, I just didn’t get it. The thought of having nothing to do terrified me and I thought that made me weird. But in talking to people who are similar to me and who struggle with similar issues, I can see that depression and anxiety uses my industrious nature against me. And to be honest, I’ve had enough of it.
I’m not going to stop working hard. And I’ll always be industrious – it’s just who I am. But I’ve spent too long trying to avoid downtime for fear that my depression and anxiety will get worse if I’m not busy productively working.
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” John Lubbock
I’m realising that it’s actually okay to do nothing. Being productive 100% of the time isn’t possible, so I shouldn’t feel guilty for just relaxing.
“Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective.” Doe Zantamata
Not only is downtime okay, it’s actually pretty important. Over working can cause stress, which actually probably makes anxiety worse. My very wise and very kind parents are very good at reminding me that I’m not a human DOing; I am a human BEing. Sometimes just being is more important than doing anything.
Chilling is the art of doing nothing without being bored. I don’t like doing nothing, and I get bored very easily, so chilling is something I need to work on. Ironically, in this case, I’m only going to succeed at it by not working hard.