7 Ways to Procrastinate That Are Actually Self-Care
No matter how many cylinders you’re perpetually firing on, there comes a time when you just can’t get out of first gear. Your muse is nowhere to be found. You’re staring at your computer screen’s blank page waiting to be filled with words/gazing unenthusiastically at the material you’re supposed to turn into a dress/watching (literally) your paints begin dry…
You hate to procrastinate, but you’re feeling wholly uninspired. And, while Merriam-Webster defines procrastination as “putting off intentionally the doing of something that should be done,” that doesn’t mean you can’t procrastinate productively.
Here is a handy list of things to do other than the things you’re “supposed to do,” but which just might inspire you to get back to business, today, or, you know, tomorrow…
1. Call A Friend
According to Harvard Medical School, friendships, “Not only give us pleasure, they also influence our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep and a good diet.” I, for one, know that every time I call my BFF, she is almost always in the exact same headspace as I am and after talking/laughing/crying together, I feel 100 percent re-energized.
2. Treat Yourself To A Gorgeous Face Mask
This feels like an indulgence in the middle of the day — it tickles your olfactory senses, brightens your skin and can be as calming as a nap. By the time you rinse it off, pat yourself dry and moisturize, you’ll feel like you just woke up and are ready to face the day! Even if it’s past noon…
3. Go Shopping
There is a palpable difference between shopping online and physically meandering around a store, touching fabrics and chatting with sales help. Don’t get me wrong — I’m a huge online shopping fan (especially since I don’t have a car), but taking time out to shop the old skool way can be wildly inspiring. And if you end up buying something — it has long-lasting effects. While I advocate all kinds of shopping by way of procrastination — candles, food, home goods — shopping for clothes seem particularly satisfying.
4. Read A Poem
Reading a poem is a short and sweet distraction, unless you consider Ulysses a poem which it technically is, but let’s assume for the sake of this listicle we mean the short-form. Poetry has the effect of making you look at things differently which can be a huge boost to getting over whatever uninspired slump you’ve found yourself in. Some of my recent favorite poets include: Terrence Hayes, Saeed Jones and Natalie Diaz.
5. Learn Something New
Speaking of Natalie Diaz, last summer I spent 10 days at the Tin House Workshop, and attended Natalie’s workshop which was focused on the way poets use repetition. She showed this video of Allen Iverson by way of example. Watch it, and consider how what he says, how the one word he uses repetitively, changes its meaning over the course of this video. Like poetry, watching something that makes you see/hear/or feel differently can help you return to your work at hand with a new point of view. So next time you’re feeling stuck, reach for something you know nothing about — a video of a choreographer working on a dancer, a cobbler making shoes — whatever it is you normally wouldn’t be interested in, check it out. And in this way, you will continue to learn and expand your horizons and in so doing, you have not procrastinated at all.
6. Make A Playlist
Few things affect our emotions more than music. Just the opening strains of certain songs bring me back to my childhood. Drumbeats set me to dancing in inappropriate spaces and certain (many) voices can bring me to tears. Sitting down and making a playlist with a title indicative of your current mood is not really procrastinating; a good mix is something you share with your friends, something you can work out to, blast in the car when you’re driving to work or through your Beats as you bike to happy hour.
7. Move It
a. Go for a walk
b. Go for a run
c. Go for a bike ride
d. Do some yoga (preferably outside)
Getting outside can be a serious game-changer when you’re stuck. A dose of vitamin B courtesy of the sun, the sounds of birds, the sight of flowers, the wind in your hair … you might run into a friend. You might happen upon a killer garage sale. You might realize you need a taco and finally try the taco truck a few blocks down you’ve been meaning to hit up but just haven’t found the time. Whatever your outside jam is, take :20 and do it. At the very least, your body will thank you.
Do you have a favorite form of procrastination? What’s on your playlist?? Have you read any of those poets??? Let us know — we’d love to procrastinate with you!