Making Room for Nothing

Picture of sky and flowers
Photo Credit: Andrew Chirch

The art of doing nothing. Whatcha’ doin’? Nothing. What did you get done today? Nothing. What are you working on right now? Nothing.

These are words we don’t want to say, do we? When people ask us what is going on in our lives, we usually say pretty much the opposite of “nothing”. “I’m soooo busy.” Or, “Oh my gosh, it’s been such a crazy day/week/month/year/life”. Do you ever get the feeling that sometimes it’s a contest? Which one of us is the busiest? Oh, you haven’t slept in weeks? You win — I’ve only not slept in days. Ug.

The longer I live and the more experiences I have, the more convinced I am that our health is largely dependent on our ability to do nothing. How well we stop. Sit. Stare into space. Let our minds wander, and not in the way that means wandering through our next grocery list or the numerous bills we need to remember to pay.  I mean, really wander. Daydream. Come into the realization that you’ve been sitting there for a while and can’t necessarily even remember all of the things that were going through your mind. **This is healthy, folks.***

And what do we need in order to do this? Permission? Privacy? Time? I think it’s probably different for each person, but these are the most common things I hear from people that are blocking them. Well, I will help with the first one. I herby give YOU permission to do nothing. I, as your health coach, am telling you that it is actually VITAL to your health, both mental and physical, that you take a break. I’m not gonna make you do it, I’m just telling you that you are 100% entitled to it, and your body and soul crave it.

Now for the rest. Start by going through your calendar for the next three months. Start scratching out (yep, I still use a paper calendar, but if you are a person who loves your on-screen calendar, you can do the electronic equivalent) space on your days. I just take my pencil and make a squiggly line across the section of the block that I don’t want to plan anything over. Start with just one day a week maybe, or even just 4 hours of one day. You can do this. Once you get the hang of it, you may find yourself able to look at some of the things you do regularly and identify what things aren’t serving you anymore, and actually erase them. Cancel your participation in activities that aren’t feeding your soul. We’re going to start small though, so let’s just do this one thing today.

If you need some privacy, my favorite way to achieve this is to go on a walk. Depending on where you live, you could get this just by stepping out the door and going around the block. If you live in a very populated area, you could schedule this time in the early morning hours before everyone gets going for their day. Or if you’re a night owl, do the reverse — head out after everyone’s in for the night. If the weather isn’t favorable in your part of the world at the moment, building a private little area in your place of residence can be as easy as finding on of those divider screens at a thrift store and putting it in a corner of a room with a pillow to sit on or a simple comfy chair.

Nothing is very important. Please find some soon!

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