We live in an uber-connected, always on, instant gratification world. With Instagram, Snapchat, smartphones and all the other services and methods out there, finding a little me time is getting more and more difficult.
My down time, when I get to unplug is important to me. I’m an introvert. I’m not shy, but I do need quiet time to recharge. This can involve meditation, a run, a bike ride, a workout or absolutely nothing. That’s right, there are times (fewer than my wife thinks) that I do absolutely nothing. I’m not talking about watching television nothing or even listening to the radio nothing. I mean nothing. I can sit on my deck and just listen to nature. Feel the breeze on my skin, watch the clouds float by and not think about anything.
The methodology is straight forward for introverts.
- Take all electronics and leave them turned off and elsewhere. I have a cabinet that they all get locked in.
- Go somewhere you want where you will not know anyone.
- Sit, lie, do, think, nothing. Just let all those random thoughts go racing by. Don’t even wave at them.
- When you’re done with nothing, step back into your life.
- Repeat as necessary.
Four easy steps and an offer to repeat as needed. It just doesn’t get any easier than that. Now that the ‘How’ is covered, let’s explore the hard part, the ‘Feel Good About It’ part. I have a full time job, a family and I teach Tae Kwon Do or yoga 7 days a week. With all this going on in my life how could I possibly feel good about doing nothing? I’m not the only one with this type of crazy schedule, so how can anyone feel good about this nothingness?
Sit down. Take a breath. Take another breath, I’ll wait…
Here for you, the secret to doing nothing guilt free. Call them justifications or rationalizations, it doesn’t matter. Find the one that fits, and see what happens.
- The only way to maintain this breakneck pace you are setting is to make sure you recharge and stay as efficient as possible. The fastest way to recharge your smartphone is not while you are talking on it, but while it is turned off. Same goes for your brain.
- If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of those who depend on you. You are doing this for them as well as yourself.
- If you don’t make time for >picture of nothing<, your head (and possibly phone/tablet) will >picture of exploding head/phone/tablet<. That will not make for a good selfie, nor will you be able to post whatever it is you plan on having for breakfast tomorrow.
- Go with me on this one. Grab a wind-up toy (if using your child’s, make it one they won’t miss). Wind it up until it wants to stop. Now wind it up more. Keep going. When it strips out and starts turning freely and won’t do anything anymore. That’s where you’re headed. Start now.
- Make an appointment, put it in your calendar, or you too will end up with your head exploding.
Maybe that was a tiny bit snarky, but hopefully you get the point. Everyone needs to recharge and do nothing. For some it’s the social butterfly thing (extroverts). But from my purely unscientific observations, when extroverts are recharging at a party, that is their version of doing nothing. They are solely focused on doing what recharges them. Socializing and not focusing on their normal responsibilities.
For us introverts, we need to allow ourselves that same escape of day to day stuff. Socially speaking, I believe extroverts have it easier because they recharge in a way that is socially engaging and makes them appear friendly, and society rewards that behavior. Introverts on the other hand can be viewed as stand offish or even anti-social (depending on how badly we need some down time).
If you are extroverted and need some recharge time, round up some friends, play the Pick and Pay game (all phones in the center of the table, first one to pick up their phone picks up the bar tab or dinner) and recharge. For the introverted crowd, quietly slip away, lock away all electronics, find your favorite hiding spot and drink in that glorious solitude.
You aren’t dodging responsibilities and there is nothing to feel guilty about. You are doing the best thing for you at that moment, taking care of yourself. And that in turn will allow you to continue to take care of those around you to the best of your abilities. And that is how and why you too can feel good about doing nothing.