THE ART OF DOING NOTHING: Embrace the benefits of solitude.
I never quite understood the art of doing nothing. Or the importance of solitude. Until I became a parent.
Pre parenthood there were always pockets of time during the day when I could be alone with my self, either to meditate, do my yoga practice, go for a walk, or read a book. It never occurred to me that something I was taking for granted, and considering just a normal thing, would become so special and rare.
When my daughter was born, suddenly these precious moments were gone. I was lucky if I could be alone in the bathroom for longer than 3 minutes. I tried to wake up before her, tiptoeing to start my practice or have my morning coffee in silence, but all my efforts resulted in only a few minutes alone before she started calling me.
I felt tired and overwhelmed. I could barely hear my inner voice and it’s wisdom.
I remember sitting alone in a traffic jam one day, going to work, wishing the traffic jam would last a bit longer, so I could enjoy the silence of being with myself in the car.
Over time I repeatedly heard these sentences from my clients, parents and non parents alike, who were also struggling: “I need some time for myself”, “I need to reconnect with my self again”.
For all of us it is necessary to take a break from the rigorous demands of daily life. The constant doing, the running chores, the being exposed to the relentless noise of media, social life, and entertainment.
Very often we can even feel guilty or not productive enough when we are taking some time off for ourselves, spending the day without overbooked schedule, when in fact, balancing out active and resting periods is essential for our wellbeing.
Solitude can be very beneficial for mindfulness. Time alone allows for a quiet and distraction-free environment, which can help to focus the mind and increase self-awareness. Additionally, being alone can provide an opportunity to reflect on one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, which can help to identify patterns and make positive changes.
Mindfulness can spontaneously occur by spending time alone in nature.
During my tailored retreats, we are purposely implementing unconstructed periods of time in our weekly schedules and re-learning how to connect with that creative, curious, intelligent force within us. How does it feel to just be?
The art of doing nothing is the practice of taking time to relax and unwind without engaging in any specific goal driven activity or task. It is a way to give your mind and body a break, and to allow yourself to simply be in the present moment.
Taking time to yourself can have a variety of benefits, including:
- Stress relief: Taking a break from the constant demands of daily life can help reduce stress and promote feelings of relaxation.
- Improved focus and productivity: The “me time” can give you the opportunity to focus on a specific task or project, which leads to increased productivity and better performance.
- Increased self-awareness: Being alone allows you to reflect on your thoughts and feelings, giving you a better understanding of yourself and what you want out of life.
- Better relationships: Solitude moments can help you to be more present and engaged in your interactions with others, which can improve the quality of your relationships.
- Improved physical and mental health: Regularly taking time to yourself can help improve sleep, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and boost your overall well-being.
- Enhanced creativity: Solitude can provide the space and quiet necessary for the mind to wander and generate new ideas.
- Deeper connections with nature: Spending time alone in nature can help you reconnect with the natural world, and deepen your appreciation of the environment.
- Greater sense of independence: Being comfortable spending time alone can help you feel more self-sufficient and confident in your ability to be alone.
- Opportunities for personal growth: Alone time can be used to explore new interests, learn new skills, and push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Next time you are doing your weekly schedule, make sure to put a date with yourself on the to do list, and have fun, in whatever harmless manner that means to you!