Get Comfortable With Doing Nothing
Article by Carley Schweet
Let's face it, we live in a world that's so over-connected, making it feel very difficult - almost impossible - to disconnect.
Between the pings from emails, text messages, and social media notifications, it's natural to find ourselves going down the rabbit-hole in both our digital and physical world. Not to mention, our seemingly endless to-do lists regularly loom over our heads, reminding us of the tasks we've yet to cross off. It's easy to feel like we're not doing enough before our day has even begun.
Why is it that we can quickly validate our self-worth by the number of tasks we accomplish in a day, not by what a kind, loving person we are?
Or, our busyness may be an avoidance technique that prevents us from facing what we fear most.
Is it possible that our busyness keeps us so focused on our to-do list that it hinders us? In the end, we no longer have the mental capacity to reflect on the parts of our lives that desperately need our attention.
Learning to do nothing for short periods of your day will hopefully help to rebalance the way you view your self-worth. You might find that you no longer feel the overwhelming desire to keep yourself busy throughout the day. Being still for a moment might bring you greater satisfaction than your to-do list ever did.
So, how do you do nothing in a world that glorifies doing everything?
Step 1: Unplug
Cell phones have become a convenient tool of distraction and can hinder the process of doing nothing. The more awareness you have around using your digital device as a crutch to fill a void of time, the better you'll become at learning how to be bored.
Challenge yourself to take note of how many times you reach for your phone while waiting in line, at the doctor's office, on the bus, etc. The next time you catch yourself digging around for your cell, focus simply being in the moment.
Work on doing nothing.
If you need some extra accountability with your screen time, create time limits for the individual apps that seem to soak up most of your downtime.
Step 2: Let Your Mind Wander
Now that your phone is away, you can allow yourself the pleasure of drifting off into your thoughts. Daydreaming will give your brain space to get creative and will grant you the joy of relaxing into the practice of doing nothing.
Daydreaming might not come easy at first. You may find your brain resisting the process. If you're getting stuck, try doing a mindless task like washing the dishes or vacuuming your house. Give your mind the pleasure of just focusing on a single job.
If daydreaming doesn't excite you, meditation could be a transformational practice to introduce into your morning routine.
Step 3: Priortize Your Mental Health
When we're overwhelmed, it can feel like the more you get accomplished, the happier you feel. Sure, there is something to be said about being productive, but our joy and mental health should not depend on a piece of paper listing our tasks.
Remember it's okay to take breaks, and it's completely alright to be bored. Let's try adding 'be bored' to our to-do list and see what happens.
After years of people-pleasing in the corporate fashion industry in New York City, she finally realized there was more to life than being a chronic yes-woman. By practicing transformational self-care, she gained more confidence and discovered that by making her needs a priority, real happiness would soon follow.
Carley is the host of the You Time™ Podcast, and her work is featured on major media outlets such as MindBodyGreen, Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Elite Daily.