Doing Nothing For A Year: Throes Of Joblessness? Or Actually Beneficial?
Doing nothing for a year. The mere thought gives you a sudden twitch, right?
Me too, my friend, but despite the twitch, I would like to make a proposal: if not for a year, at least for a few months, you do absolutely nothing. This doesn’t mean you don’t go anywhere, or just sit on your couch and stare at the wall. It means, simply, that you clear your calendar and make space for what could happen. You remove any social obligations, you let projects sit idle, you turn off your notifications, and you simply take time to just be.
I tend to get a bit nostalgic when I think about that time. I had backpacked across India that year for a few months. I used to go to bed before 10 pm and sip on my morning coffee at 6 am. I used to have some morning runs accompanied by complete silence, only broken by singing spring birds. My eyes used to rest upon the slowly moving green stream, from the nearby mountains. Plenty of time for my family and walks in beautiful surroundings. Being away from the busy life and doing nothing has been like a vitamin pill. It feels like my brain has been down and re-booted.
Doing nothing is often unfairly labelled as being lazy, but in fact, it’s probably the best thing that you could do sometimes. So, why do we feel the constant need to always be doing something, rather than having a well-deserved rest? What happened to being able to relax, without feeling guilty about it?
Here are 5 reasons why doing nothing for a year is absolutely reasonable – and essential!
1. It’s good for your health
After that rejuvenating year, I breath slower, I get new ideas, I have time to reflect and think things through, my brain feels more sorted and I have more energy. I am ready for life’s challenges. Did you know that doing nothing or sitting idle produces many health benefits including, but not limited to, reduced heart rate, better digestion, improvements in mood, and a boost in overall emotional well-being? Mental downtime also replenishes glucose and oxygen levels in the brain and allows our brains to process and file things, which leaves us feeling more rested and clear headed, and promotes a stronger sense of self-confidence.
2. Remind yourself that “wasting time” also is productive.
Here’s a powerful paradox: We are often most productive when we feel it least when we’re taking a break or relaxing or doing absolutely nothing. Our best ideas hit us when we are unproductive. When you are running or showering or sitting, or doing nothing, or waiting for someone. When you are lying in bed as your mind wanders before falling asleep. These “wasted” moments, moments not filled with anything, in particular, are vital. They are the moments in which we, often unconsciously, organize our minds, make sense of our lives, and connect the dots. They’re the moments in which we talk to ourselves. And listen.
3. Naps = best
Have you ever looked at a cat’s expression while it’s asleep? Calming, isn’t it? Whoever tells you that naps aren’t the best thing on this planet are quite clearly massive liars, and probably the type of people that tell kids that Father Christmas isn’t real. Seriously, you don’t need people like that in your life. Naps are proven to boost productivity, and there is something magical about drifting off to sleep in the middle of the day.
4. Meaningful family time
Doing nothing means having way more time for family. It also means actually lounging around with them in the living room catching up on important topics such as the Big Bang Theory series. Imagine a long weekend/s at your parents’ farmhouse (yeah, if you are that lucky). Few months at low speed, spending valuable time with your family, and staying close to nature. There, the internet connection is slow. Perfect! You get forced to log off and unwind.
5. Silence is beautiful
Our brains are constantly bombarded with information, images, and noise. We tend to assume our minds are like fortresses, and all this stimulation can simply bounce off, but that is not the case. Our minds are vulnerable, and everything we see and experience influences our thoughts and emotions. So, for your “do nothing” time, set a guard at the gate and breathe in the silence.
Remember, all of those pyjamas that you’ve purchased? Well they weren’t exactly cheap, were they? Do nothing for a while, and get your money’s worth by wearing them all day long. You’ll never feel more cosy in anything else. And if spending a day is PJs is wrong, well, we never want to be right. Take them out from the back of your closet and start doing nothing!
Taking a few deep breaths and thinking “It is safe to relax” can really do wonders.
So, get comfy. And if you feel like it, comment below with your thoughts on doing nothing for a year!