I’m going to ask you guys a question and I want you to give me an honest response: When was the last time you did nothing?
Like, truly relaxed, without just popping a load of washing on, answering a work email or nipping to the shops? If you’re anything like the rest of the adult population, then I’m guessing your answer is probably: ‘I can’t remember.’
For most of us, our lives are a constant merry-go-round of chores, work, family life and more, with very little time dedicated to simply ‘Doing Nothing’. I mean, who even has time to just lay around and relax, right? I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I did.
Adam and I were one of the lucky few that had a whole ten days of annual leave booked over the festive period. We’d been looking forward to this for months, making plans and starting most conversations in November/December with the sentence: ‘When we get some time off work…’
This special time was going to be amazing. We had plans to spend a few days in Wales with family, get our home deep cleaned and freshly painted, enjoy numerous days out, catch up with friends, do some major batch cooking and generally get our mutual shit together.
So, did we ‘make the most’ of this rare time off and manage to transform our ways? Of course we didn’t! Bar spending Christmas Day and Boxing Day in Wales, a trip to Costco, driving to Lancaster, doctors appointments and some light housework, we spent most of our time doing absolutely nothing – and it was perfection.
We ate mountains of junk food, lazed around in our pyjamas for days at a time, drank copious amounts of tea, played on the PS4 for hours at a time and watched more movies than I care to remember. I read books, magazines and spent quality time with my husband and children, cherishing every single moment of it.
I am my own worst enemy. I rarely allow myself to stop and the idea of taking time out to ‘Do Nothing’ seemed ludicrous. There is always something that requires my attention and with time being precious, I refused to waste it. The guilt that goes hand in hand with ‘Doing Nothing’ was also a big factor for me. I mean, aren’t people who do that just lazy and bored? No. It turns out that they’ve figured out something that has taken me over thirty years to realise.
‘Doing Nothing’ is incredibly good for the soul. Obviously, as with everything in life, it’s all down to moderation, but allowing yourself a brief period of hibernation is an experience that I’d highly recommend.
Of course, all good things must come to an end and by the time our annual leave was up, I was ready to get back into a routine again. I headed to the office before 8am last Tuesday to tackle a rather hefty workload and I’m currently spending the week in Frankfurt, Germany for a business thing but I feel that the break helped me come back with a renewed passion, more focused and clear-headed.
I’m not sure I could continue with that way of living long-term, but I’ll definitely be taking a lesson from our impromptu bout of ‘Doing Nothing’ and making much more time to do just that. Obviously, taking a whole ten days away to vanish from mankind isn’t very practical on a regular basis (and I’m not sure it’d go down very well with my boss), but just finding an hour to truly switch off in the evenings or spending a Sunday in bed watching movies, without feeling guilty, is the future! Or mine at least…