The POWER of a “Nothing Day”

Wow, it is only 0843 and I am already feeling refreshed. I did not plan today, but it is a breath of fresh air. I woke up this morning and realized I had nothing on my calendar. I had nowhere that I “had” to be; and no children jumping up and down asking what would be for breakfast. The kids are at their grandparents for the week to enjoy their last bit of summer. Time has slowed down in this house and it has been shockingly quiet.

I woke up this morning without an alarm clock. I went to bed on time last night so I felt ready to wake up when I did naturally; no need to dream of more time. I thought about the idea of a pajama day which the kids and I have done several times and it never lasts more than a few hours. Thinking back on my life, I realized I have not had a “nothing day” in about ten years! No joke.

This means a day I do not have to work, take care of the kids, go anywhere, put on make up and look nice for anyone, do laundry, cook for anyone, or get going on my to do list. I also realize this is no one’s fault, but my own. Since my husband died, I have usually been busy with the kids and when I have been given a “break” by them visiting family, I have spent the time running around catching up on errands, traveling, or doing something else that keeps me busy. When I have traveled on a vacation, even alone for the purpose of rest and relaxation, it is not like this. The stress of airports, missing flights, catching a taxi, or even just taking advantage of what the location has to offer can edge in on the restful intent of the trip. I have not given myself downtime. When my husband was alive, I kept constantly busy with the kids, work and a never-ending to do list. Even in relaxing time with him, I would not call it “nothing time,” introvert that I am.

Extraverts may not appreciate a nothing day as much, but for introverts, let’s call it a mental health day. I remember that term in my workplace years ago. People would joke sometimes that they would use a sick day or vacation day when they were not sick or on vacation, but they just needed a day to recoup from the stress of work and regular life. Some people, like my incredible late husband, have the natural ability to put their “to do” list aside and truly relax in whatever space and time they find themselves, but for certain personalities, this is a much tougher task. If you have this personality, which most mothers do, you know what I mean.

I may clean the bird cage today, but I do not have to do that. I do not need to go to the grocery store. I do not need to go to the gym; it is a rest day. Although I know on rest days from marathon training that does not mean I am supposed to be an eggplant. I may go ride my bike, take a walk, or whatever else suits my fancy. I have already been reading a couple hours; and not a personal development book like I usually do; just a fun novel with no work required. I can actually stay in pajamas the ENTIRE day if I want.

To be fair, I should say I do not really have any money to go do anything. In the past, when I have had money, I was always up to something, and as a result, it’s probably the case that if I had money now I would go do something. I also would not know what I was missing. The stress relief of a day like this is more therapeutic than anything money could buy. I highly recommend it.

For anyone grieving loss of a loved one, I will say that I have tried to take a couple of “grief days.” These days can be therapeutic in their own right, but the pressure to work through my grief is not something I would liken to this at all. I am not putting that pressure on myself today even though I do have my fair share of grief left on my shoulders. Today, everything is set aside. It is literally, a free day.

It is easy in this overwhelming, interconnected, news-saturated world to be constantly on the go with little downtime. This is my soul pushing back, saying not today world. Today is my day. It is a gift. It is a gift from God and God believed in rest. Rest for the weary. Rest for the tired, the broken, the grief-stricken, the busy, the ambitious, the well-traveled, the never-traveled, and you, wherever you fit into the spectrum. You deserve a day like this!

Wishing you true rest and a refreshed spirit,

Nikola Rosa