Today, at my company doctor appointment, the second time since I called in sick two weeks ago, I told my doctor that I had tried his suggestion to sit on the couch one time, so far.
“One time is no time,” he said with a knowing smile.
“Pardon me?” I asked him, and checked with my husband to see what the doctor meant.
“I think he’s referring to what you said earlier,” said Theo, “That you tried sitting ‘doing nothing’ one time in these past 2 weeks.
“Oh,” I said. Then, after a short pause, “But you know, women aren’t conditioned to ‘do nothing.’ Men are better at doing that.” And as I said it, I immediately felt guilty for badmouthing the two men in the room who were actually trying to help me. Because, to us women, sitting on the couch is something you do only if you have a fever, or cancer, or if your leg is broken. Otherwise, you do what you have to do. And what one has to do, is endless.
So, today, again, after the appointment, I sat myself down on the couch, then after that seemed a bit uncomfortable, I turned on a relaxing playlist, lay down and covered myself with a blanket. This is what I thought and did (or didn’t do):
- Am I allowed to fall asleep? Is that doing nothing?
- Oh, look at those plants, how elegant they look. I could draw them.
- Or paint them, with acrylic. I haven’t done that in a while.
- Maybe I should take a picture of them. Okay, not now. Now, I’m doing nothing. Is looking at things also part of doing nothing?
- I looked into the distance, at the back of the house, the backyard, the neighbors houses. I softened my eyes and just noticed the black and white quality of this foggy day.
- I listened to my music. I enjoyed it.
- Amy, my cat was sitting beside me and at one point she got up and actually came to sit on my lap (she never does this) and I felt emotional – even she can feel I need some TLC!
- At one point I fell asleep and had a little dream where I had to do something.
- Luckily I woke up quickly and remembered that it was okay to do nothing.
- I smiled to myself and felt warm and cosy.
- I enjoyed the relaxation I was feeling.
- I remembered that the doctor said something I didn’t really get: “When you enjoy just relaxing on the couch, that means you are ready to return to work.” This doesn’t make sense to me. I decided to let it go.
Finally I checked the time on my phone. Half an hour had gone by. I checked Facebook and realized that there’s a writing sprint happening now. So, I grabbed my laptop and began to write, something I love to do.