stay home

Permission to Stay Home

If you’re looking for it, or you know in the back of your mind that you need it, or if you’re just too afraid to ask for it, this is your permission to stay home.

Consider this your field trip slip, signed and ready to be turned in.

You can stay home. You can do nothing. You can just sit or lay down. You can zone out to the TV, or clean until your heart’s content, or read in bed, or marathon movies, or do a craft or a puzzle, or dance around to music that makes you feel good, or cry on the couch, or do anything and everything that you have not given yourself time to do because your schedule is too full, or you’re trying to do too many things at once, or you feel like if you sit at home you’re not “seizing the day” or whatever.

Sometimes you just need to stay home.

Sometimes you just need time to breathe.

Sometimes you just need to shut and lock your door and then stay PUT.

This past weekend, that is what I needed.

For weeks my brain had been jumbled. Jumbled with all of the things that I wanted to do, all the things I had to do, and all the things in between.

I made a to-do list, but every time I looked at it it seemed to be the same length. Nothing was getting crossed off. I was just reviewing everything I hadn’t done, only to then spiral into the same chaotic pattern in which I still didn’t do anything.

A big chunk had to do with my new apartment.

Having just recently moved, I had things strewn about my counters and furniture. Pictures waiting to be hung, boxes waiting to be unpacked, trinkets waiting to be displayed, organized, and, in some cases, glued back together.

I did not have that base yet. That foundation. The one where when you get home from work, you put your purse in one place and kick your shoes off in another; the one where you can sit down on the couch for a few minutes as you decide whether you want to exercise or if you’ll get started on dinner early; the one where, on your way to bed, you hang that one rogue jacket back up in the closet and toss the sock that missed the hamper on top of the rest of dirty clothes, knowing that those two things are the only ones out of place; the one where you go to bed tired, but not stressed, aware of your to-do list for the next day and even excited to add a few more things.

That is my happy place.

But as much as I wanted to get there, I didn’t know how to start moving.

When I got home from work, all I wanted to do was sit down. To take a breath, to try and figure out which thing to do first. But I had this appointment or that commitment, I had too many very fun but very back-to-back plans on the calendar.

Every day when I got home I had somewhere else to get to or something else to get done. And I didn’t have any energy or stamina to get anything done before that. I would just sit, dreading the ticking forward of the clock, and then I would sit up, get where I needed to go and then come home and collapse into bed.

As each day went by, the piles stayed piles, the boxes stayed boxes and the chaos stayed chaos.

For me, this is my nightmare.

And I felt the anxiety of disorganization stack on top of the anxiety of the new changes taking place, and I kept looking left and right, wondering if there was a way I could push pause on everything so I could try and catch up.

Well, that pause came this weekend. It came when I realized I didn’t have anything on the calendar, and when I remembered that I have the power to say, “I AM TURNING INTO A CAVE TROLL THIS WEEKEND.”

Or, in other words, I put my outside life on *do not disturb* and I locked myself in my apartment and got to work.

I sat on the couch when I was tired, I hung things up when I was inspired, I danced around my living room when a good song came on. I moved trinkets from shelf to bookcase to shelf to table to shelf to counter to end table, waiting for it to look “just right.” I ate gummy bears. I watched sports. I made myself dinner. I put my hair in a top knot and didn’t even look at my makeup bag. I wore slippers all day. I cuddled up under a blanket and caught up on the book I’m reading. And then I took a long, hot shower, and went to bed mercifully relaxed.

On Sunday, I did it all again.

And as I sit here, writing this, I feel like an entirely new person.

My calendar is still full, my apartment isn’t finished yet, but MY GOODNESS I’ve come so far in two days.

So, if you’re someone who just needs a *minute*, who is feeling like there are simply too many things being thrown your way or asked of you; if your to-do list is in a stagnant state of long or if it has become something that only gets longer, then you might need to become a cave troll.

Maybe for a night. Maybe for a day. Maybe for a weekend. Maybe for a while.

I don’t know your schedule. I don’t know your responsibilities. But I know that we all need a break sometimes. We all need some time to digest what on earth is going on in our lives.

So, this is your permission to take that time.

To say no to that thing. To clear your calendar of what is superfluous. To take advantage of that empty space. Sit. Lay. Read. Breathe. Do absolutely nothing.

Put the outside world on pause. It will be there for you when you’re ready—and maybe you’ll be a little more ready for it.