Most of us have now been under lockdown for over a month, and we’ve established new routines of working, eating, and exercising – all without leaving the house. Sometimes this day-to-day cycle feels like it’s never going to end, and we wonder when we’ll return to clinking glasses at our favorite neighborhood restaurant or sweating it out in a crowded yoga class. The most difficult part? No one knows the answer just yet.
There’s a new mentality setting in; “use this time productively.” Learn a new language! Take an online course! Make sourdough! Finish your novel!
Let’s stop already.
We’d like to make a case for doing nothing, and allowing yourself to get bored. We’d like to make room for the anti-productivity mindset, and for doing what feels good even if it’s not productive. Noticing the smaller things and allowing time for deeper introspection helps us get to know ourselves better, and deepens our relationships with the ones we love.
It isn’t easy to slow down if you’ve been in a to-do list mindstate, so we put together some tips get you started.
If Instagram influencers stress you out with all their tutorials and how-tos, try some counterprogramming with @NapMinisitry, whose bio reads “We examine the liberating power of naps.” They emphasize the importance of rest, napping and calling out the ridiculous ‘grind’ and ‘non-stop’ culture we have created, and promote the beauty and sweetness that comes from allowing ourselves to rest. If you didn’t feel excited about doing nothing before, you will be after browsing their feed.
Of course, it isn’t easy to take the lying down time when we’ve been all wound up for years. We love Ground Control which helps the body better manage stress. CBD + chamomile, ashwagandha, licorice root and L-theanine are the anti-stress miracle workers.
Nix the Guilt
Many of us were raised from an early age with the puritan work ethic to “just do”. Fight the urge! Find inspiration and sanity from the Italians, who have a special phrase for it, “La Dolce Far Niente”, which means the sweetness of doing nothing and the Indians who say ‘Shunya’, which in Hindi means zero or nothingness.
This scary pandemic is a time for us NOT to measure the success of our day by how much we got done and what we accomplished. It’s a time to work, if you’re lucky enough to have a job, but not to overextend. The results of your restraint to be productive are well worth the hassle and uncomfortable feelings. There is a sweetness on the other side.
All you have to do is...nothing.
Give yourself permission to disconnect, nap, stare at the wall, space out. Turn off digital devices and rest. No formal meditation, just a body-mind shut-down in the middle of the day.
We are bombarded by digital screens morning and night and taking a break is profoundly necessary. In the book, “The Art of Doing Nothing” Jenny Odell argues that because the internet takes away our sense of place and time, we can counter its force by reengaging with our physical environment. Disconnect and lie down. This quiet moment of nothing can be profoundly healing.
We’ve been a society that was constantly filling clutter into our physical, mental and psychological space. Now that we’ve been forced to let a lot of the extra stuff fall away, what are we left with?
Space that allows us to ask the existential questions, the “how I can love better,” the “is this what I want my life to look like” kind of questions. The most important ones to make sure we are spending this precious life of ours in the most authentic, best way we know how.