Why You Need To Make Time To Do Nothing

The importance of doing nothing: Why downtime can be the best self care | If you want to relax, boost your creativity, improve your focus and productivity and build a healthy lifestyle full of self love, then this post is for you! Includes a free self care planner! Woohoo! Click through for the post.

Hello Lovelies:

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in the middle of a never ending to-do list? There are always a million things that need to be done. Many of us work our booties off all day only to come home and work even more. But how often do you sit back and literally do nothing?

Even in our free time, we often fill the void with other activities… from checking e-mails, to returning texts and phone calls, to doing all of those chores that seriously seem to never end. Doing nothing can leave us feeling guilty. But if there’s one thing you add to your self-care routine it definitely needs to be time to do nothing. It’s anything but a waste of time.

Let’s talk about why doing nothing can be one of the best things that you can do for yourself.

The importance of doing nothing: Why downtime can be the best self care | If you want to relax, boost your creativity, improve your focus and productivity and build a healthy lifestyle full of self love, then this post is for you! Includes a free self care planner! Woohoo! Click through for the post.

Your Brain Really Needs A Break

We are all pretty overstimulated in this day and age. We might as well be existing in a perpetual state of informational overload. In fact, a 2010 survey by LexisNexis discovered that many of us spend more than half of our work days simply receiving and digesting information.

Add on the duties and expectations that we need to cram in there somewhere, and all of the other to-dos we have on our lists, and it’s pretty clear that we rarely take a mental break. Even when we’re on vacation, many of us are in the habit of taking work home and checking our e-mails.

But our brains are dying for a little free time. And there’s a reason for that:

Downtime is pretty important for our mental well-being, our productivity and even our relationships with ourselves.

Doing Nothing Allows Us to Reconnect with Ourselves

The importance of doing nothing: Why downtime can be the best self care | If you want to relax, boost your creativity, improve your focus and productivity and build a healthy lifestyle full of self love, then this post is for you! Includes a free self care planner! Woohoo! Click through for the post.

From a young age, we’re taught to keep busy. If we aren’t doing something productive, it’s easy to feel guilty and irresponsible. But busy-fever doesn’t do us any good either. Not only does a state of constant busyness increase our risk of burnout, it limits our chances to connect with ourselves.

When you make time to do nothing, you have the opportunity reflect and examine your thoughts and emotions.

Periods of mindfulness allow us to truly get to know ourselves and our emotional state, which may even help to improve our mental health. While more studies are certainly needed, mindfulness has shown that it helps to relieve stress, anxiety and depression (source).

Not to mention, making time to reflect on your thoughts, feelings and emotions and truly getting to know yourself is so important. Self-love is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Developing a kind and loving relationship with yourself is never a bad thing.

When you know and love yourself you take care of yourself. You make decisions from a place of love and respect for yourself. And you treat yourself with kindness. So let’s hurry up and do nothing baby! We’ve got nothing to lose and tons to gain!

Your Attention Span Will Thank You

While it might seem silly to say, making time to do nothing a priority actually helps to replenish our attention span. And when you really take the time to think about it, it all starts to make sense.

How often are you in a state of multitasking? Reading these e-mails, finishing that report, getting ready for this meeting, thinking about tonight’s supper and the dishes that won’t clean themselves… We’re often in a position where our minds need to wander from thought to thought, task to task, with very little rest in between. But that doesn’t exactly create focus – which is terrible for our attention spans.

When you make time to disconnect and give your brain a break from it’s daily thought marathon you actually come out more attentive and productive.

For example, two 2007 studies showed that those who learned how to meditate had better working memories and attention spans than those who didn’t while writing a test (source 1source 2). And they even outperformed their non-meditating counterparts.

Why? Because the opportunity to do nothing productive and give their minds a break actually helped them to become more focused, which allowed for better concentration and memory retention. Pretty cool eh?

Learning to unplug and be mindful boosts your performance, which is really an awesome win! And when you know that taking the time to relax actually makes you more productive, you have nothing to feel guilty about.

It Breeds Creativity

The importance of doing nothing: Why downtime can be the best self care | If you want to relax, boost your creativity, improve your focus and productivity and build a healthy lifestyle full of self love, then this post is for you! Includes a free self care planner! Woohoo! Click through for the post.

You know what happens when you do nothing? Tons of uninterrupted free thinking! And that might as well be creativity fuel. Why? Because it gives our thoughts an opportunity to wander freely and our minds the opportunity to imagine.

In his paper Doing Nothing and Nothing to Do: The Hidden Value of Empty Time and Boredom, Manfred Kets De Vries, a Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organisational Change, states that “Doing nothing is a great way to induce states of mind that nurture our imagination… seemingly inactive states of mind can be an incubation period for future bursts of creativity.”

Quiet time gives rise to ideas. You can’t be creative when you’re constantly focused on absorbing information and completing a list of tasks. So take a step back and let your brain rest. You never know what wonderful things it might come up with.

So What Exactly Should You Do When You “Do Nothing”?

It’s not going to be boring, I promise. Making time to do nothing doesn’t mean that you have to sit there staring to at the ceiling and twiddling your thumbs. It’s more about doing nothing useful or important. We’re talking about idle time savouring the moment and focusing on simple things that relax you and bring you joy.

You need to disconnect and relax, so whatever works for you is wonderful. Put away your computer, get out in nature, practise mindfulness meditation, take a long bath… the options are endless (see – doing nothing is far more entertaining that it sounds!) There are even forgotten activities from your childhood that are wonderful stress relievers!

It’s all about balance! But we have being busy down pat. It’s time to focus on learning how not to be busy. And making time to do nothing a priority is a really awesome place to start.

If you need help making doing nothing a priority and creating a self care plan that works for you, I have a free self care planner that can help. You can download it right here or click to imagine below.

Make time to do nothing - Your Health-Esteem Journey Starts Here with a Free Self-Care Planner

Do you make time to do nothing a priority? What are your favourite ways to unwind? Let me know in the comments below!

Health and love,

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Thought of the day: I give myself permission to simply rest and be. I am allowed to be unproductive.

Your Health-Esteem Journey Starts Here with a Free Self-Care Planner!

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18 Comments

  1. I am so adding this to my to do list
    Even when I find time for myself, I plan to do something. But doing nothing sometimes really helps to take a real break
    Thanks for this great post

    1. You aren’t alone! I think we all have busy fever 😊. But making time for nothing sometimes can definitely do wonders. I hope you love it. 💖

    1. That’s such a wonderful way to unwind Cassie! I totally agree. A nice walk outside or just sitting out in the sun can be so relaxing and uplifting. It’s one of my favourite things too. I hope you got to spend plenty of time in the great outdoors today. 🙂

    1. I can definitely relate Gayathri! There are times when I forget to make time to do nothing and find myself feeling overwhelmed too. Remembering to allow myself some time to relax and simply be makes all the difference. I hope that you give it a try and find it helps too! <3

  2. Amazing information and advice! As humans, doing nothing is SO hard to do but this really puts it into perspective as to why that is important.

    1. Absolutely Briana! It’s definitely so hard; we all seem to have a never ending to do list. I know I struggle with this sometimes too. I hope that you have the chance to do nothing and relax today! 😊

  3. I love this! This sums up perfectly why I find it difficult to do nothing. Even on my days off, I find myself keeping busy with blogging, cleaning out my emails, doing school work, or anything else that I can do to keep myself busy. I need to really take one day to turn off my emails, shut down my laptop, and just read a book. Reading always helps to clear my mind, relax, and takes me somewhere outside of where I am. This post is just what I needed.

    1. Oh my goodness Amber Lynn, I can definitely relate. As bloggers, we can easily work 24/7! I sometimes have trouble making time to do nothing too. But I do my best to make it a priority. And reading is one of my go tos too! It’s wonderful to disappear into another world!

      I’m so glad this post was something you needed to read. And I hope you find yourself lost in a good book today ♡. It’s my favourite form of self care!

  4. I find it so so hard to do nothing but oh the benefits when I do. With four kids, my do nothing time is constantly being interrupted by implorances to do something…for them. So, for now, my doing nothing time consists of putting down the phone and giving my littles attention. One day I will have me time again and I’ll be so lonely!

    1. As the youngest of 4, I definitely know where you’re coming from Jamie. I was that little imploring voice for my mama for a long time 😅. I hope there are little moments here and there for you. But time with the kids is also really good for us too. Playing, imagining, colouring… they’re all great forms of self care and really good for our minds. I hope you get lots of play time in today and have a wonderful time with your little ones. You’re right to soak up every moment ♡.

  5. I absolutely love this! My mind is on overdrive all day every day. I always have to be doing something, whether it’s watching tv or playing a game on my phone I have to have something going on al day. It’s stressful and never made sense to me. I don’t want my daughter to be like that. This is definitely eye opening. Thank you so much!

    1. You’re definitely not alone Chelsea! It’s so easy to constantly be on the go with something. But realizing that a little unplugged downtime is needed is wonderful – I hope you and your daughter can make this a new self care tradition together! ♡

    1. I’m so glad you liked the article! You definitely aren’t alone – it can be really hard to make time to unplug and do nothing. But it can also be so beneficial for our mental well-being. I’m sure you’ll find your groove! I hope you have a fantastic day 🙂

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