Permission to Chill


People who have spent the past year or so working from home because of COVID-19 understand what those of us who have worked from home a long time (26 years) know... it's easy to do work when you're bored. Your work station calls to you. When all else fails, turn on the computer....

It's critical to not only give yourself permission to chill, but it's vital to your mental and physical health

Give yourself some credit for surviving stay-at-home orders. Many of us are used to living outside the home most of the time and having a routine with those in our home that doesn't include unlimited time together. Problems in relationships, things you hate about your home, and no hobbies so utter boredom are constant pressures.

Be sure you have a project in your home. 
Whether it's gardening or refinishing cabinets, painting your office area, these things actually get you engaged with your environment and you realize something you didn't in an office - you have total control over everything from color of your office, to obnoxious posters, a beat up chair that's comfortable, an exercise bike nearby. Make your home your own, not a catch-all for dropping things off. 

Be sure you spend some real time with family at home. 
If you need to get to know your spouse again or your kids, try doing a group activity. A spontaneous picnic out back, board game night, or a home redecorating project side by side are all good ways to engage interaction and be playful again instead of task-oriented. Normally on a work day, the kids have homework, supper has to be made, dishes need to be cleaned - everyone has a list of chores. We become people doing instead of people being. 

Be sure you put your phone away.
We are used to lifting the phone and checking our social media, emails, texts.... When you give yourself permission to chill, the phone needs to be stored away. The computer needs to be turned off. Truly chilling is turning inward.

Be aware that being alone with your mind on a day off can be terrifying.
In a way, a day off is a process. At first, you feel guilt at doing "nothing." You think about all the things that await you when the day off is over and figure you might want to get a jump on them now. Do not give in to the desire to hit your to-do list. The feelings of guilt will pass once you get yourself involved in something leisurely.

Note: I know it's easy to put on the TV and binge watch a season of a show, but by the end of the day you wonder where the day went and having not moved your body at all, you feel kind of sluggish and not renewed.

The key to chilling is simply having no plans or agenda, winging it. Also, it involves doing things out of order or in a different way than your daily routine. 

Here's some ideas - 

Make a real breakfast and eat it outside.
Take a morning bath. 
Go for a walk. 
Head to a lake and skip rocks.
Dig in the garden and plant some seeds.
Go to a plant shop and just browse.
Grab a book you meant to read and never did.
Make extra morning coffee and refrigerate for afternoon iced coffee.
Grab a friend and fly a kite.
Blow bubbles.
Run under the sprinklers.
Take your lunch picnic style outdoors.
Work on a vision board of pics that inspire your dreams.

However you decide to take a chill day, remember that your mind at first will fight against it. 

You will ruminate about work, issues, unresolved stuff, but then as you play, your focus shifts. 

A few hours into it, don't be surprised if you get creative ideas, like a desire to do macro shots of the plants in the yard with your camera or head to the store to find a color of paint for your bedroom wall.

 The final course of thoughts at the end of the day is a feeling of perspective. You not only feel renewed, but creatively juiced up, mellow and content with your life. Things like  resentment, guilt, and frustration squeeze out of you and replaced with a feeling of reset and mellow contentment.