Now that summer is in full force, life seems to be on hyperdrive. At least, it feels like that for me. I have several volunteer commitments coming up, trips planned with my husband before a TDY and a visit from my parents looming. For some reason, I’ve really packed myself with so many things to do and now that I’m thinking about it, I might be a little crazy.
Although I’m extremely excited for everything coming up, I have to realize that I’m only human and I’m going to have to take some time to decompress. Relaxation is something many of us neglect but it should be very important for us, especially when we find ourselves with too much going on.
Not to mention, we’re always connected and interacting with a million different things on our smartphones. I feel like we’re on the move constantly. I don’t know about you, but it’s exhausting at times, especially trying to keep up with everything going around you. Seriously, it’s overwhelming and it can also ultimately lead to you being unproductive.
Well, there is a remedy and it’s when you schedule time to do nothing…yes, I really mean absolutely nothing.
There are several studies out there that encourage taking time to do nothing. Did you know that Americans work fewer hours than we did in the 60s, but we feel like we work way more?
I urge you to step away from your smartphone, back-up from your millionth task of the day and take a deep breath. That’s it. Breathe in, breathe out.
After your deep breaths, schedule yourself some time for nothing. So, how do we do it?!
My husband and I just got back from an amazing cruise to Alaska. It was such an incredible experience that, honestly, I don’t know how to describe it in words (how many of you been to Alaska?). To see nature at its element, it was truly unforgettable.
After our adventures during the day, the cruise ship offers 101 different things to keep you busy at night. Whether it’s playing a game of bingo or dancing the night away at the disco, their goal is to make sure you’re happy. That’s totally cool and is awesome that they have so much for you to do, but really, after seeing the sights of Alaska, all I wanted to do was lay down and wait for the next day.
It was hard for me to accept it at first because my personality keeps me bouncing off the walls (I get pretty excited for a lot of things), but really that time to myself was needed. Aside from taking the time to embrace nothingness, I didn’t have a phone dinging at the sound of a notification or text message. It was so peaceful to be disconnected with reality that when we got back from our trip, I’ve made it a goal to really carve out time at home to spend doing nothing.
Here are the ways I’ve managed to accomplished nights of nothingness:
Write it down: I’m old school and keep a handwritten appointment book. Putting words on paper keeps me accountable and whenever I look at my writing, it reminds me to keep on track. Whatever keeps you focused and motivates you, do it.
Lose your phone: Keep your phone (and other electronic devices) away from you, in a different room or maybe just let the power run out. At a recent camping trip, my phone died after the first night and I decided to keep it dead for the reminder of the trip. Being able to sit and enjoy the nighttime noise in silence was a thrill.
Find your peaceful place: I’m a city girl with a huge appreciation for the outdoors. I realize that sitting in a park or by the water is calming to me and I find peace there. At home, I find serenity out on the patio deck with a cool beverage. That’s my little slice of heaven.
Encourage nothingness as a family: A hectic schedule doesn’t only affect yourself, the rest of your family can feel worn out as well. A story shared by Scholastic says that we could overschedule our children and that we should value time that isn’t filled by appointments. It might be a challenge to get your kids to embrace nothingness like you, but help motivate them by giving them an engaging, yet relaxing task. Try playing 20 Questions or do a puzzle together.
Take your nothingness to other places: Similarly to what I mentioned on my vacation to Alaska, take the time to do nothing when you’re busy doing something. There is always a moment to reflect, even if you have plans that overlap your peaceful time. Don’t pack your schedule super tight, especially on vacation. Soak in the sun and enjoy your time away from work!