The philosophy of non-zero days
These days, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed. We have been living in unlivable conditions for too long, and all of it takes a heavy toll on our mental health. We’re all traumatized, tired, drained of our energy and in a nutshell, depressed.
If you relate, you know that it can be extremely hard to keep moving forward in life when you’re feeling this way. Things that we usually take for granted become much harder: from getting out of bed in the morning, to eating properly, taking care of our home, of our work life, our social life, to doing things to take steps towards personal goals or dreams.
And the worst part is that it becomes a vicious circle that loops around our inability to do much. I can’t do the dishes / finish that work task / go for a walk so I feel bad about myself, which only adds to the original reason I can’t do any of it which is that I am drained.
This is where the Non-Zero Day approach comes in. The concept is this: A zero day is when you don’t do a single thing to contribute to your own well-being. A zero day is when you take literally zero action towards whatever dream or goal or needs you have. A non-zero day is when you take at least one action that day that is aimed at making you feel better. It’s not limited to one, you can do many things, but the point is that every day contains at least one action that made you feel better or got you closer to your goal.
So if you’re deep in the pits of depression, that goal can be simply to wash your face and brush your teeth. That’s okay. Instead of hating yourself, calling yourself a slob and sinking even deeper, you can think of it in non-zero-day terms. If you do just one thing all day that day, you’re not wasting a day, you’re moving forward. Even if it’s a teeny tiny step, it’s still going forward. So if today all you can do for yourself is wash your face, than that’s enough for today. You’ve had a non-zero day.
One of those days after the other will bring you relief from the insane expectations you have of yourself, as you allow yourself to rest, recover and do what you can. In the end, all you can do is what you’re able to do, so as long as your days is not a zero day, you’re doing great.