Sometimes ‘Doing Nothing’ is Best for Your Mental Health

It seems like people around us are always talking about how in order to be successful you must be working 24/7, constantly getting things done, and being everywhere doing everything. In fact, it is a human instinct to get as much done as quickly as possible when the work seems to never end and deadlines seem to be coming up sooner and sooner. It seems like our minds are constantly running at a mile a minute and we rarely take a second to slow down. In March 2020 when we entered lockdown, it seems like our world stopped at a halt- all of a sudden everything shut down, school was cancelled, and we were to be stuck in our homes until further notice. It was at that point that I realized I had been running on this figurative treadmill non-stop and hadn’t taken a second to catch my breath.

Now that I have acknowledged this, it has become a priority for me to find pockets of time during the day to just sit & breathe for a few minutes. We get so caught up in our countless Zoom meetings, assignments that keep piling on, and other obligations. It is so important for us to take time to reset and collect ourselves. For some, taking moments throughout the day to simply BE can make the world of difference when it comes to dealing with anxiety, increasing productivity, and overall happiness. 

Furthermore, we should be allowing ourselves longer periods of rest without feeling guilty. It is so easy to look at your mountain of work to do, tasks to complete, and everything else on your agenda and go, go, go, until it is checked off. Grant yourself the right to take long breaks when needed, because you deserve it. Our weekends are only 48 hours long, and yes, a portion of it should be spent getting stuff done, but don’t forget to set aside time to relax. Make time for YOU: workout, cook delicious food, get outside, rest on the couch with a show on Netflix- anything to give your mind a break. Skipping self care can quickly lead to burnout in school, work, and in life in its totality. 

I believe one of the best things you can do for your mental sanity and peace is finding moments just for YOU; moments where you are not giving energy out to other people and situations, but just tuning in to how you feel. Whether it’s 5 minutes of deep breathing between classes or Zoom meetings, and/or 3 hours spent watching television on Sunday, allow yourself the time and know how beneficial it is to your mental well-being. 

It is easy to feel guilty for taking time to rest when you have important things to accomplish, but prioritize your peace by setting time aside for yourself. Trust that you will end up feeling so much better in the long run. We get so caught up with everything going on, running as fast as possible on life’s figurative hamster wheel. Diminish the notion that you have to be constantly working and grinding to get where you want to be. Finding time for yourself to do nothing, all for the purpose of staying mentally sane and at peace, will take you much further. As Kelsey Patel (mediation expert, spiritual empowerment coach,) said, “you don’t have to be it all, do it all, have it all.” Allow yourself the moments to cultivate awareness and bring about peace, it is so worth it.

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