Life&Style writer Ffion Haf questions our need to be constantly engaged and praises the art of doing nothing

Written by Ffion Haf
1st year English Literature student.
Images by geralt / 21340

In a time of such uncertainty, it isn’t surprising that people cling onto distractions and ways to keep themselves busy. It has gotten to the point where we begin to question, why are we unsatisfied with simply doing nothing?. Productivity almost becomes an addiction, we long for that feeling of ticking items off our to-do list. One may think that these acts will bring calm and happiness, however one does not require anything to be happy and we shouldn’t depend on external factors to achieve such emotions. An important part of life is to take care of oneself, physically and emotionally, which sometimes means that we need to ‘switch off’ from tasks and even the world around us for a little while.

Productivity has been known to release dopamine, a chemical which induces pleasure and happiness

We all strive to achieve a particular goal each day, even if it includes small things such as cleaning our bedroom. But this habit can become problematic if we feel tethered to a to-do list, seeing every moment of the day as an opportunity to do more. We expect a lot from ourselves, getting busier and taking more and more on – being productive has began to encourage addictive behaviour. Productivity has been known to release dopamine, a chemical which induces pleasure and happiness, this rush increases heart rates and also motivates us to take on more. And thus, this creates an endless cycle of tasks and productivity, leaving no time for relax or reflection. If you do too much, then you won’t have a healthy balance, and you’ll burn out. Make some spare time to rest, have some fun and to be sociable. This will give your brain and body a chance to recharge.

This is the perfect time to give the art of doing nothing a try. Although it may seem foolish to relax when you have a mountain of work to do, it’s crucial that people learn that taking time for yourself is just as important as anything else on that list. Here are some tips on becoming satisfied with quiet reflection and some much deserved you-time:

1. Schedule it in

Just like you would with any other task, doing nothing can be scheduled and prioritised too. Take some time out of your day to stop,and  view this time as being as important as any other productive activity.

2. Endure the discomfort of doing nothing

Trying something new always feels uncomfortable for a while, however, when you resist the urge to do more you might actually find that it is quite enjoyable.

3. Find something you love

The idea of relaxation will vary for everyone, it might literally mean sitting and doing nothing, or it can mean doing something that is just for you. This might entail an old hobby, such as cooking, going for a walk or reading a book. If it’s not particularly productive or straining, you should still feel free to go ahead.

4. Meditation

If rediscovering an old hobby or staring into the abyss doesn’t sound like your thing, maybe give meditation or listening to music a go. Sitting down and doing nothing will be harder for some than others, and that’s okay. Meditation can help with relaxing the mind and body, after a while this will become a part of your routine and you’ll want to keep it up.