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The Art Of Doing Nothing: Why You Should Give Yourself The Break You Deserve

When was the last time you did nothing? Not the last time you procrastinated on Facebook or watched Netflix after a long day at work. I mean, when was the last time you were by yourself, doing nothing?

Yeah, I can't remember the last time I did that, either. In fact, it's almost a weird suggestion, given the priorities on which our culture seems to pride itself: “Do more. Work faster; work longer.”

Work, work, work! There's always something we have to do to remain “competitive” or to stay “on top” of things. Is this working, though? Is anyone actually enjoying this?

As a college student, surrounded by peers who are constantly striving to obtain research positions, prestigious awards, internships and high grades, the concept of doing nothing is, indeed, a new one.

In fact, doing nothing seems to hint at laziness, passivity and idleness. Is it any wonder that you can't remember the last time you did nothing? The constant stream of technology with which we're faced doesn't exactly help.

What if I told you that doing nothing is good for your health? What if I told you that it would actually energize you and add focus to your life? Here are some reasons to further prove why doing nothing is beneficial and how exactly you can add more of it into your life:

Enjoy the present moment.

Turn off your phone. The next time you're eating lunch, put down that magazine or tablet and try to simply just focus on eating. Appreciate all that is around you, especially simple stuff that you take for granted.

Listen to music. Go for a run. Get out in nature. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself of the importance of being present.


Disconnect.

Don't roll your eyes at me. Turn off your phone and log out of Twitter already! Sure, it may feel weird at first, but enjoying the company of, well, you is quite a gift. Become comfortable with silence.

Know that it is okay to stay at home and to spend a quiet night in. You do not always have to be on the move, planning and adding to your to-do list. Take a deep breath. You're alive!


Prioritize your priorities.

I'm sure your plate is filled with meaningful activities that are near and dear to your heart… or, are they? Figure out if your heart and soul are both truly engaged in the various groups and activities in which you're involved or if you are bolstering up your résumé instead.

Be honest with yourself. Focus on what you truly enjoy doing and pursue it. If you're not genuinely excited when you think of the activity, get rid of it. Why bog yourself down with stuff you don't even enjoy? Don't spread yourself too thin; use your time and energy wisely and invest in activities that truly matter to you.


Recharge your batteries.

Constantly being around people requires a lot of work. Add on top of that the steady stream of essays, applications and busywork that the average college student or professional faces… I'm feeling tired just thinking about it! Try just chilling at home and having no plans. See what happens. Enjoy doing nothing, just because you can.


Don't plan.

Ah, perhaps this is hardest task of all. As a college student, I know all too well the nerves and worries that accompany the concept of “The Future.” Will I have a job? Should I go to grad school? That's just the tip of the iceberg.

Give yourself permission to take a break from the constant planning. Just a head's up, though: Those five-year plans are really a giant waste of your precious time and energy.

Have faith — at least momentarily — in the universe. It's no use to worry about the things you can't control. What's the point in stressing over something that hasn't even happened to you yet?

Calm down. It'll be okay, I promise! For now, focus on what is right in front of you.

Photo via We Heart It

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Nora Turriago

Contributor

Nora Turriago is a student at Smith College, where she studies history and government. Her writing has appeared in Thought Catalog and The Feminist Wire. She enjoys interpretive dance, verbal jousting, and obsessing over FC Barcelona.
Nora Turriago is a student at Smith College, where she studies history and government. Her writing has appeared in Thought Catalog and The Feminist Wire. She enjoys interpretive dance, verbal jousting, and obsessing over FC Barcelona.

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