I recently read this article in the NYT, and it really resonated with me. We all tried languishing during the pandemic, letting the days slide past without really achieving anything major. At least I tried it. I indulged in self-care when I most needed it – I can say that without feeling any measure of guilt.
But this essay really touched a nerve when it states that feeling is not pleasant. You don’t really feel like sitting around doing nothing much. You also don’t feel like you have to do self-care stuff all the time, so what is the solution?
The article suggests a modest way to get unstuck – try starting with small actions and take it one day at a time.
I think this is a splendid idea and I adopted it immediately. Taking up a regular walk daily for thirty minutes might seem overwhelming at first, but if you complete one day and then the next day then you’ve made some of a dent.
The same applies with writing. I took long breaks from it, and it was never easy to get back into the habit even if I had developed a strong regular one at some point. But the adage ‘something is better than nothing’ works best here. Writing a hundred words a day, or even fifty, or ten is far better than writing zero words and then having the guilt of not writing claw at your conscience.
I won’t sugarcoat it – it takes effort to get back into the stride of things. If you’re used to just clocking in at work and then clocking out and relaxing, you have to overcome than inertia and get started. But once you do then the feeling of achievement is great and well worth the effort.
A similar thing happened with my vow to exercise – I started slow and didn’t do a fixed amount every day but I did something, and that alone motivated me to do a little more each time.
When I read the original article in the NYTimes, it inspired me to check out more on the topic. I found several good pieces on the topic. Do have a read, and if any of it helps you let me know in the comments!