The art of doing nothing and why can’t you be more like your sister?

by Kim on July 30, 2013

If you’re going to do nothing, you might as well own it.

That’s the conclusion I came to last night, as I was sprawled on the couch drifting in and out of sleep. I had big plans to study NASM stuff all evening, but I was exhaaaausted, and the heavy science in the chapter I’m on was too intimidating for my mashed-potato-filled brain.

I wanted to run, too, even though I envisioned it ending like this:


Despite some motivation concerns, I hung onto the idea that I was eventually going to get work done, all night. When I came into the living room to find Brent watching Avatar (!!) on TV, I thought, “I’ll just watch a little bit…” Ten minutes later, I was comfortable and dozing, and my studying/running dreams were already looking bleak.

Many, many rounds of “ten more minutes!” later, I’d almost made it to the end of the movie. Then, all of a sudden it was 10 PM, and I realized I still wanted to shower before bed. So that was that.

I’m not even mad that I didn’t get anything done. I’m just mad that I didn’t get to enjoy my do-nothingness because I was too busy trying to motivate myself all night instead of blissing out.

Sometimes, you have to just let yourself do nothing. Even when you didn’t plan it, and even when you have a million other things you should be doing.

But the real skill is to do nothing and let yourself completely enjoy it, rather than feeling guilty. There’s a point of diminishing returns, when you’re not going to get that much done anyway, so why not just embrace the nothing that you’re doing? And if your brain/heart’s not in it, are you going to be happy with whatever crappy work you churn out anyway?

Mason must have recognized how tired I’ve been for the past few days, because he slept in until 8:30 this morning. 8 freaking 30! That’s like 2 PM in college sleep-in terms. I took the opportunity to sleep in with him, and I finally feel like I have my mojo back. Best son ever!

Now, to make sure my mojo sticks around, I’m taking inspiration from the lovely Giselle @ My Healthy Happy Home and setting a few weekly goals for myself, all related to fending off the demons of inexplicable tiredness.

Weekly Goals

Drink 128 oz. of water a day. The number is not as random as it sounds—it’s just drinking two of my 64-oz. Nalgenes. According to Dr. Oz (whose show is one of my occasional midday guilty pleasures), women need about 91 oz. of water a day, men need 125, and about 25% of that typically comes from food. But I feel like a little more water helps when you’re extra tired, and if nothing else, just monitoring it helps me stop worrying that I’m not getting enough.

Remember to take my vitamins. I still take a prenatal vitamin everyday (or try to, anyway) along with a probiotic. But it’s been getting harder and harder to remember lately, so I set up an alarm on my phone to go off every morning at 10.

Be in bed, lights off, for 7.5 hours a night. I purposefully didn’t say “sleep” because I don’t like the pressure. If I just barely get to bed in time, I don’t want to lay there thinking, “Go to sleep, NOW!” All I can control is physically getting myself into bed at a reasonable time.

Do 30 pushups a day. I plan to use these more as wakeup jolts, rather than regimented exercise. When I’m trying to get work done, my mind drifts, and I’m tempted to hit Facebook or the fridge. But this week, whenever that happens, I’m going to punch out a few pushups instead to refocus and get my blood flowing again. (One of the perks of working at home…)

Read in bed for at least 15 minutes every night. I love doing this, and when I can make it happen, it makes the transition to sleep so much easier. Plus, I just love to read, and it’s a nice reward at the end of the day. It doesn’t have to be a fun, fictional read either—I’ve been working through this book for quite awhile (on and off, in between others), and I’m really into it.

In other news, I’m on a mission to turn Brent into a fish-lover.

He says he doesn’t really like it, but I’m convinced that the real problem is that I suck at preparing it.

Last night, I attempted a coconut-crusted salmon, thinking the sweetness would win him over.


I whipped an egg with a little coconut milk, dipped the salmon in, and coated them with a mixture of shredded coconut, panko, and salt & pep. Then I greased a pan liberally with coconut oil (we love coconut around here these days) and baked the salmon at 400 for 15-18 minutes.

Everything was going beautifully until I had to figure out when to take the dang things out of the oven. This is always the sticking point for me. I even used Brent’s fancy new meat thermometer, which announces when the food’s done.

I planned to cook the fish to 165 degrees. At 145 degrees, I blinked twice, and IT WAS SUDDENLY 175. (Well, ok…I went to help Mason with something, but I swear it took me less than 20 seconds!)

Sure enough, the fish came out with that slightly fishy, overcooked smell. Story of my life.

But it still looked pretty.


I boiled down a mixture of coconut milk, honey, and cayenne pepper for a sweet & spicy sauce, and paired the fish with Israeli couscous seasoned with lemon juice and S&P. Theoretically delicious—minus the fishy taste.

Someday, I will master the art of taking fish out of the oven at the right time. Geez, salmon, always so sensitive…why can’t you be more like your sister, chicken?


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

char eats greens July 31, 2013 at 7:17 am

I like those little goals! I need to read before bed too. I REALLY like that goal. I’ll go on my computer and then the bright screen just wakes me up more! I do have a ton of books I got from the library too, so it only makes sense to start reading some!!!
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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries July 30, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Totally agree that you just have to embrace doing nothing and enjoy it rather than feeling guilty about or thinking about all the other stuff you have to do. Then you don’t get to enjoy the relaxation AND you get nothing done. Well that sucks! ;) Glad you got caught up on your sleep though!

And seriously, what’s wrong with you salmon!? Haha. You never fail to make me laugh. Your humor in your posts is the best!
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Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness July 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Oh you lucky mom! My kid has been waking up at 5:30 AM! And of course, this morning when I set my alarm early so I can workout before physical therapy, THIS is the morning he sleeps in until 8. Seriously kid????

I love that idea of doing push-ups when you get those lulls in the day that usually come with itchy fingers. It never hurts to work on a little upper body strength. ;)
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Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome July 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Yay for goal setting AND sleeping in! That very rarely happens around here for me mostly because my internal alarm clock goes off by 6:30 at the latest. Love your goal to be in bed but not necessarily asleep. I by getting into bed earlier, our body begins to relax and prepare for sleep therefore often allowing us to feel more rested even when we didn’t fall asleep super early. I think the salmon looks delicious! My hubby used to not really like it but now he loves it! Have you tried cedar plank grilling it?
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Kim July 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Sometimes that break from all things is the best ever!! Glad you even got to sleep in this morning – I remember how great those days used to be!!
I’ve always heard (and it’s what I use) that in cooking fish, when it flakes easily with a fork it’s done.
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Katie @ running4cupcakes July 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I totally hear you about giving yourself the day/night off and then not feeling bad about it – super hard to do! And good job even attempting salmon at home, I’m not that brave. :)


Elle@thewaybyelle July 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm

That looks great! I just started using panko in the past year or so. I can’t believe it took me so long! :)
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