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A good cup of tea can solve almost any problem, or at least, for me it can.
Except, on this day, I didn’t have any problems. Not that I wouldn’t have drunk at least 20 cups of my favourite green tea anyways, but there was nothing in particular that needed solving.
Most of my time had gone by in a blur. Like most quarantine days, I had spent it attempting to work, stuck between trying to act on my will do something and my insane Animal Crossing addiction. (Drop a comment below if you’re the same – I need support)! I was planning to go out with friends in the evening, and so had told myself I would be productive until I left.
Now, if you’re a big organisation nerd like me, then you may have read that and heard alarm bells going off in your head. Almost all productivity bloggers/YouTubers/your Asian parents will tell you that if you want to get something done you need to be specific. So, I shouldn’t have said ‘I will be productive until 6pm’ – I needed to actually say what I’d be doing, to know what that something I desperately wanted to do was.
As a result, I felt the time I had allotted to ‘work’ melt in my hands, as I desperately attempted to keep a hold of it. I’m sure everyone can relate to that terrible sinking sensation of looking at the clock and realising time has gone by so fast you didn’t even realise it, and you’ve done absolutely nothing so far despite X amount of time having gone by.
But, why do we need to do something with every second of every day?
I’ve actually been thinking about this myself a lot today, and so writing this post retrospectively, I’m quite proud of the choice I made.
Whether it’s our capitalistic society or the nagging voice in the back of our heads, I’m sure many of us feel like we can’t rest (which is why I wrote a poem contemplating it). I’m a huge workaholic, but not for the reasons you may think. It’s not because I hate myself or feel that I need to push myself constantly out of a lack of self worth, overtime I’ve learnt to love myself and accept who I am. It’s simply because I love working. My work right now is writing, and I really enjoy it. I’m grateful to have a small audience of people who also enjoy reading my work (thank you!!!) which pushes me to keep writing. But the problem is, when you blend your hobbies and your desire for some sort of outcome, be it success, fame or monetary income, it’s difficult to draw the line. I’m sure many of us have experienced this with working from home for example, when two worlds begin to bleed into one another, it can quite quickly become an overwhelming experience.
In speaking to my therapist about this, she said the first thing I had to do was absolve myself of any guilt of not working. On a linguistic level, it’s interesting to think that our society has attached the verb ‘doing’ to a noun ‘something’, to imply you have to have some sort of physical outcome, a thing, from any action you complete. For instance, going for a run? Better come back fitter and healthier than ever before. Writing a blog post? Better get 10000 likes or you’re worthless.. But, the more I thought about it the more I realised:
Drinking tea was still doing something, and in fact there is an outcome from it, a lovely warm sensation that runs throughout my body.
Rest is a necessary part of life, yes, but we shouldn’t feel like we have to rest just because we’ve pushed ourselves to our limits and have to recover from doing something.
So, when I decided to not go outside that day, my decision was not passive. It wasn’t me deciding to not push myself or give up because I felt anxious, it was me realising that I had done enough that week, and I was still doing something by resting – letting myself enjoy a well-earned cup of tea.