(Originally published July 1, 2015)
“OMG, I am soooo busy.”
“It’s so crazy at work, I never stop.” “It doesn’t slow down – my life’s a whirlwind.” “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
How many folks do you know who describe their lives this way? How many times do you? It seems pretty common, in my part of the world, to wear our busy-ness like a badge of honor. So much so that making time for ourselves – to do nothing; to read a book; to take a nap – seems a betrayal of our personal mission.
But what’s the real risk? According to an article in Forbes:
“The danger is we may lose our connections, not just with one another but with ourselves. If we don’t allow ourselves periods of uninterrupted, freely associated thought then personal growth, insight and creativity are less likely to emerge.”
And, from Psychology Today:
Manfred Ket De Vries, INSEAD Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change, writing in INSEAD Knowledge argues, “In today’s networked society we are at risk of becoming victims of interaction overload. Introspection and reflection have become lost arts as the temptation to ‘just finish this’ or ‘find out that’ is often too great to risk.” … setting aside regular periods of “doing nothing” may be “the best thing we can do to induce states of mind that nurture our imagination and improve our mental health.”
Of course, it may not be possible to drop everything for a week spent staring at your favorite vista. But, it is possible to achieve a greater sense of balance within the context of daily life. At the Holistic Performance Group, we value the practicality and benefits of even small things that help us create space and time in the midst of the daily routine.
Here are a few:
-A 20-minute nap
-A delicious soak in the tub
-A lazy lie-down on the grass to watch the clouds
And since not all of the above can be done at work :-), here are others:
· Walk around the office, or outside the building, once a day (or more) - without your smart phone.
· Spend one minute following your breath
· Take a 30-second hiatus from email to dream into a favorite picture
There is a wonderful Italian phrase - “dolce far niente”. It might be translated as “the sweetness of doing nothing”. We hope our suggestions allow you to bring much-needed “nothing time” into your life.
And, perhaps a little more sweetness, as well.