February 11, 2020

It’s Okay to do Absolutely Nothing.

The one thing that I particularly remember about last year is my inability to get enough rest.

I was so overworked that resting for even five minutes was impossible.

Not only did I not have time to relax, but I also thought it was unnecessary and a waste of time. Why should I do nothing when I could finish many tasks instead?

My year ended with terrible neck and back pain, poor vision, and a whole lot of stress. To be honest, it wasn’t the first time I’ve suffered the consequences of overwork. For the better part of my life, I’ve been busy—not necessarily with work.

When I’m not making money, I’m doing something else that is weary. From one task to another, I’ve literally spent my entire life on the go. I read, then I wash the dishes, then I watch a movie, then I exercise, then I make money again, then I cook, then I’m out of things to do and I start looking for the next task. I detest being idle.

But is it really idleness when we’re physically or mentally tired and need some time to rest?

This year, I’ve decided that nope. Resting doesn’t mean idleness or trying to avoid work. Now I know—more than ever—that resting is an integral part of being productive. I rest because I deserve it; I need it; it improves my performance; and it’s essential for my emotional, mental, and physical health.

Let’s talk a little about resting. What does it mean to rest, really?

Oftentimes, when we want to relax, we do things such as reading, drawing, playing games, writing, going for a massage, working out, doing yoga, and so on. Almost everything we do besides work is therapeutic in one way or another. I do them myself, and I wouldn’t trade the touch of a book in my hands for the world.

However, the type of rest I would like to tackle is the one that involves exactly “nothing.” No book, no brush, no mattress, no laptop. It’s a time when we take a break from all demands, all responsibilities, all tasks. You might think it’s impossible (yes, I’ve thought so too, for my entire life), but it’s manageable.

You might be stuck in your workplace, managing a household and children, overwhelmed with freelance jobs. You might be low on money and can’t afford to lose one day off. Whatever you do, wherever you are, I want to open your eyes to the five minutes in which you should be doing absolutely nothing.

Our timetables vary. I might not be able to take more than 10 minutes for myself every day, while others could leave for a one-week vacation. Regardless of how we incorporate our “nothing time” into our lives, we should stop taking it lightly.

Zoning out requires mental willingness to stop engaging in tasks. Most of the time, when we have nothing left to do, we freak out. We don’t like to be left with nothing. Some of us refer to this nothingness as boredom and so we try hard to beat it with plans and chores.

Next time you have nothing to do, delve in it for a few minutes, half an hour, or one hour. Doing nothing is still something. I’m not saying we should become lazy and keep doing nothing at all times. I’m only saying we should rest for a short time between tasks.

Take a walk, stare into the ceiling, lie down on the couch, and ruminate on the extinction of dinosaurs. Have a monologue. Really. It’s okay. What I’m trying to say here is that we should stop giving ourselves a hard time for doing nothing. It’s about time to stop being obsessed with tasks and work. Filling our time doesn’t make it any better or more enjoyable. What makes our time pleasing is how we feel about it.

Resting brings a sense of comfort and happiness. It combats stress and restarts our bodies. This is what I’ve experienced, at least. Comparing my last year with the last few months, I’ve realized that I’m more productive when I integrate breaks of doing nothing between my tasks. Instead of working for 10 hours straight with no rest, now I can work for 12 hours with many breaks.

Not only is it physically soothing, it’s also mentally uplifting. I stopped feeling pressured into finishing everything. Regardless of the emergency of my tasks, I choose every day to give myself a few minutes to rest.

My tasks can wait, but my health will not.

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