I read an article today about ‘freizeit stress’ – ‘free time stress’: the analysis paralysis which sets in when you can’t decide how to make the best use of your free time. Then there’s ‘leisure sickness’ – the sore throat that comes on the day after you go on annual leave, or the Saturday morning headache (not the kind you get after a heavy Friday night!).
It seems we tie ourselves in knots about always doing stuff, keeping busy, even to the extent that the things we might do ostensibly for fun become another kind of work, whether that’s going to the gym, learning another language, or making cupcakes for a friend’s party.
I catch myself thinking how much I’d like to read another chapter of my current book or spend my lunch-hour mooching around the shops – and then almost as soon as that thought is in my head – I come up with a list of worthy things I should be doing instead. I’m not suggesting we shirk our obligations – I mean those things on our own mental lists which don’t actually need to be done right now but we really think we should do.
I once read a poem (I can’t find the writer’s name, but if anyone knows it, I’d be delighted to credit him/her) which included the lines
Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
with rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
music to hear and books to read,
friends to cherish and life to lead.
And WH Davies ends his poem, ‘Leisure’,
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Aren’t we human beings, not human doings?
Today’s pebble for you to contemplate:
What will you do this week to take some time out and just be?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?