A day doing nothing and a wasted day are not one and the same.
A day doing nothing could constitute a lot of doing, but not for any distinguishable end goal.
A day doing nothing could very much be like anyone of my Sundays, where I baked, cooked, read a novel, watched shows, chatted on the phone, napped, lazed about and ate a lot of chocolate.
A wasted day is nothing like that.
A wasted day is a day where you avoid work which is pressing, decline, reschedule or cancel important meetings, do not do the work you scheduled to do for that day and let your responsibilities continue to pile up for another day.
A wasted day is where you do not do the things which inspire, invigorate or recharge you, but rather, hole away and avoid the world.
A day doing nothing could mean that you deliberately do not schedule any social events, take a bath, update your resume and maybe watch a movie.
A wasted day could mean laying in bed until your back hurts, ordering a bunch of takeout, which causes your tummy to hurt and watching the same rom-com for the sixteenth time because you cannot be bothered to commit to trying something new.
A day doing nothing is a day that you strategically planned, to decompress, regroup or recharge.
A wasted day is (typically) an unplanned day where you wallow in your space, doing nothing which will better or improve tomorrow in any capacity.
A day doing nothing is a day of rest.
A wasted day is a day lost.
We all stumble into wasted days from time to time.
You wake up on a Sunday, super hungover and the idea of going to your 10 a.m. spin class is too much to manage. You take two pain killers, drink a bunch of water and crawl back into bed.
You come home after a very short brunch with your newish potential future boyfriend where he told you that he was not interested in anything serious and wanted to focus solely on work and having fun right now in life. You come home, tear off your super cute outfit, grab some chips, put the phone on silent and turn on the television to drown out your crying.
Wasted days happen and they have their purpose, but you need to be cognizant of how often wasted days occur.
Are they weekly?
Are they monthly?
Or are they almost every other day?
Ask yourself how many wasted days seems appropriate to you.
Try to track how many wasted days you actually accumulate in a month or season and then take the time to assess. Sometimes, especially when we are in a rut, we might think we are functioning much better than we actually are.
I once asked a friend, who was struggling after a bad breakup, how much money they were spending going out versus saving for taking a yoga course they had previously been very much looking forward to. He told me that he was not going out all that much, maybe once a week and saving as much as they could for the course.
When we sat down and looked at his budget he realized that he was spending $255 weekly on outings. We had labelled outings as going out for dinner, ordering takeout, booze, coffees and convenience store purchases. Frivolous spending can add up and add up super quickly, especially if you are not keeping an eye on it.
Ask yourself what a wasted day could be replaced with.
Sure, we all need a wasted day here and there; a day where we are a self-proclaimed hot mess and do exactly what our heart’s desire, but we know it is not beneficial, healthy or positive.
The next time you feel yourself wanting to wallow away and run away from your life, think about how else you could utilize your time, which could be more beneficial for your mental health and future outlook.
Perhaps meeting a friend for coffee and talking to them for an hour or so about your bad breakup and then going to the gym before going home to wallow would make you feel better.
Perhaps scheduling a therapy appointment and going to yoga session would be much more beneficial for your mental health after a particularly bad day at work, versus running home, changing into sweats and ordering pizza for the fifth time this month.
The one thing I notice when my wasted days begin to grow in numbers is that I am teetering dangerously close to falling into a rut.
A rut can be a ruthlessly difficult thing to dig yourself out of, so I am now very cautious when I see myself wasting my days more and more often.
It can be really difficult, but taking baby steps really helps make the mountains into molehills.
Instead of packing a Sunday to the brim with things to do, I commit to clean the kitchen before sitting down to watch television. Then, after watching an episode, I commit to taking the dog for a quick stroll. These small-time commitments are easy to complete, but build up as the day progresses and by the end of the day, you will realize you still relaxed, but also accomplished worthy tasks.
Break up your wasting time with productivity and you will realize that the doing is much more beneficial than the wasting.