Relaxing Makes Me Feel Guilty

February 17, 2016  |  

Corbis Images

Corbis Images

The other day, I found myself completely alone. Somehow, I managed to finish working a few minutes early that day. My mom was out of town on business, my dad and brother were off doing their own thing, and my fiancé was busy wrapping up at a track meet with his daughter. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a slight sense of discomfort as I gazed around my empty house. For some reason, this was the first time in a few months that I was really alone without some daunting task to complete.

I texted back and forth with my fiancé for a little while as I tried to take inventory of what needed to be done, but eventually stopped myself. He needed to focus on what he was doing. I decided that I would take advantage of the free time that I had to clean up. However, I had done some serious cleaning the weekend before, so straightening up took me all of twenty minutes. I then decided that I would try to get some wedding planning done. But no, that didn’t work either because I’ve pretty much done all that I can do up to this point. This happened about four or five more times with other tasks that typically consume my time before I plopped down on the sofa somewhat disturbed by the fact that I had to work this hard to figure out what I should do with a few hours of alone time. Not once did I think, “Just chill out and enjoy this time.” And then it dawned on me—I really have no chill. In fact, chilling actually makes me feel guilty. Somewhere on my quest to get things done and be more productive, I forgot how to relax and indulge in the things that I enjoy. Had this been a year ago, I would have been jumping for joy over the fact that I had some time alone. It would have taken me almost no time to be indulging in some sort of hobby. Either that or I’d find myself parked in front of the television catching up on my favorite TV shows. However, I haven’t watched them in so long that wouldn’t even know where to pick up.

Over the past several months, approximately 95 percent of my time has been spent working, trying to advance my career in some way, wedding planning, chores, or taking care of others. With all that has taken place in my life lately, “me” time basically went out of the window. Since it always seems feels like my to-do list is a mile long, I feel guilty about setting aside time to do anything that I enjoy, or simply relaxing because I feel like that time could be put to better use. I hate to have things hanging over my head, so for the past year almost, nearly every waking moment has been spent working towards a goal or completing some kind of task.

“What do you have against rest?!” my fiancé yelled at me one Saturday afternoon. “You have no chill.”

It was one of those days where I could have been laying around relaxing, but instead, I was rushing around the house like a maniac trying to complete every task on my list before nightfall.

“Once the wedding is over, I’ll be able to chill out.”

“I’ll rest when I get this place completely organized.”

“I’ll rest after I go food shopping.”

“I’ll rest when I get a promotion.”

There are some of the lies I told him and myself in order to justify my busyness. But the truth of the matter is that resting simply makes me feel guilty. While I’m sure that I’m probably the most productive that I’ve been in my whole life, I can’t say that living my life this way has been good for physical or mental and emotional health. Thankfully for me, I had this quiet evening at home alone to do some self-reflecting. I can’t imagine how long I would have continued like this before I completely burned out.

While I’m sure that I’m probably the most productive that I’ve been in my whole life, I can’t say that living my life this way has been good for physical or mental and emotional health. Thankfully for me, I had this quiet evening at home alone to do some self-reflecting. I can’t imagine how long I would have continued like this before I completely burned out.

I’m still not 100 percent sure how I’m going to break free from this mindset, but I’m definitely going to begin by setting aside some “me” time at least once a week.

Do you suffer from relaxation guilt? How do you find balance?

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