Give Yourself Permission to do the Things you Enjoy

Enjoyment. Pleasure. Fun. Happiness. Contentment. Sometimes it’s very easy to forget what they’re like. Depression whispers to us that they don’t exist, or that we don’t deserve them, or have time for them. Well, depression is wrong, and it knows it. It’s lying again. These things DO exist, and we all deserve to rediscover them.

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We can be very hard on ourselves, can’t we? We can feel battered by the demands we put on ourselves to achieve and to do. That feeling that everything we do with our spare time must have a purpose. It feels like it’s not enough just to be.

But the things that seem to have little or no purpose are actually the most important things of all. Pointless things have a point.

We need to give our brains a rest

The times when we least feel like doing something for ourselves are the times when we most need to do exactly that. We need time out. We need to give our brains a rest.

Our poor heads feel full to bursting with all the things we have to think about. There are things we need to do. Things we should do. Things we ought to do. Today we’re telling depression to eat ‘ought’ and ‘should’, because we’re talking about what we WANT to do.

Not ‘need’ to. Not ‘should’. Not ‘ought to’. Those are words that stress us all out. Nothing saps the joy out of our days like the things we ‘ought’ to do.

What makes you smile?

Take a moment to think about something that makes you smile – something you would look forward to doing. Something you might consider trivial, but you could get lost in it and forget about the world for a while.

It could be something you’d do at home. It could be watching a film or a favourite TV show – maybe something you haven’t watched for a while. It could be a game or a puzzle. It could be something creative, like painting, sewing or baking, or just colouring something in. It could be something as simple as running a bath or playing some music.

It could involve being outdoors – maybe you enjoy wildlife, going for a walk or a bike ride, or just sitting watching the world go by.

Enjoy something pointless

What would happen if you gave yourself permission to enjoy a pointless activity for a short time? Maybe it’s time to find out.

We know one thing that would happen, though. Every moment you spend enjoying something, every second you spend looking after yourself, you’re winning. You’re poking depression in the eye. You’re forcing it to put a sock in it. You’re turning the tables.

Find some ‘me time’

But when are you going to fit in this spot of enjoyment? It has to be something that works for you. Depression’s immediate response to this is that there is no time. Don’t listen to it. Look in your diary, or at your calendar, and block out some time for yourself. Do you have a free lunch time? Half an hour before bed? Could the cleaning wait another day?

Having some ‘me time’ on the calendar gives you something to look forward to – another thing depression won’t like. Give yourself permission to step off the treadmill. Give yourself a chance to enjoy doing something just for the sake of it. To quote the Isley Brothers, it’s your thing – do what you wanna do.

If you’re not sure what you’d like to do, have a read of our free Self-Care Starter Kit.

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