The Art of Doing Nothing and its Actual Health Benefits

In 2021, information seems to be spreading faster than the coronavirus, thanks to none other than social media. We are talking files on top of files of exaggerated half-truths and success myths, all wrapped up in a gorgeously face-tuned bow – a combination so perfect it makes every other person start doubting and comparing themselves to what they see online.  It seems as though we have more than one deadly pandemic going on…

From 23-year-old billionaires to TikTok accounts completely dedicated to teaching you all about “hustle culture”, Instagram and its peers sure do know how to make you feel unproductive. Speaking of which, don’t even let us start on this generation’s obsession with productivity, or as it’s presented through the filters of social media, the lack thereof.  This false image of success that’s being painted everywhere we scroll through is so bad for our mental health. It never shows a realistic picture, but a rather filtered out one – causing people to expect much more out of life.  Odds are…Life is just not that perfect, which is why we have platforms like Instagram.

Since there are seemingly a bazillion tutorials on how to be productive and work hard, there seems to be a lack of How-To’s when it comes to doing nothing. As it turns out, doing nothing is much harder than people thought…but let that it way back, first!

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Around 70 years ago, in the ever-loving golden age of our beloved trendsetters, the home of none other than Hollywood celebrities, gun violence, and the occasional fatty cheeseburger – The American Dream sure had a big impact on how we value living today. 

via GIPHY

It was only in the 1950s when the suburbs became a real concept and movement. Back then, having a house in the outskirts, a decent job, a car in the garage, and a wife in the kitchen was considered a life well-lived.  And in between those hectic working hours in the city, there was vacationing down in the Florida Keys and smoking until your lungs can’t work anymore. Life seemed…simpleThere were no unrealistic expectations because there was no internet; there was no “poor man made a million dollars before he was 22 years old” tutorials on YouTube either. 

Fast forward 60 years, the pink and proud Millennials turned a once coming-of-age noun into a verb, and “Adulting” became the new course.  And right here, the whole workaholic “trend” came into full force, deeming those unwilling to participate in “Adulting” as human waste. The movement shaped and shifted until we had a tremendous group of young adults, utterly obsessed with being the next Kylie Jenner or Elon Musk.  And that’s the main difference between hustle culture then and now – individualism

The more we were comfortable in the philosophy that everyone is special and that everyone can make it, the more we expected from, well, everyone. Leaving those who are a tad ambitionless, stuck, for a lack of a better term. Not to say being original and confident is terrible, because it’s not! This is just drawing that thin line between confidence and ambition and toxic behavior that leads to toxic situations. Now that we know where this chaos originated from, let’s learn how to rewire our brains and work in a much healthier state of mind.

The Art Of Doing Nothing 

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

Nothing good has ever come out of it. Healthy competition is sometimes beneficial to push us a bit further than our comfort zones would let us, but everything more is just awful for your mental health! And we recognize how often this term gets thrown around, it’s very well known. But how many people have actually managed to pull this off? How many people truly sleep well at night knowing they did much less than their peers today? Sadly, not many.

In reality, people are so focused on how “terrible” they are that they don’t even notice those flaws you think you have.  The grass is always greener on the other side, isn’t it? No, the grass is greener where you water it! So, if other people and their lives have your full attention, who the heck is paying attention to YOU?! And your life?  Think about that for a while.

The Flipside of Individualism

Every person functions differently in society.  Let’s repeat that again

Every person functions differently in society

Since this extreme individualism is so prominent these days, why not use it to do something good for a change? Just because someone managed to “succeed” at 30, doesn’t mean your success isn’t on its way too. Every person functions differently in society.  

Sometimes, the least deserving individuals get to taste the “champaign problems” side of life before the hard-working folks ever do. And that’s okay, life is funny like that. It doesn’t mean hard work doesn’t pay off.  The idea behind this philosophy is that we don’t have to follow what everyone else is doing because everyone’s paths are different and under different paces.

And by proxy, this makes it okay to actually take a deep breath and do…Nothing, sometimes. The biggest problem is us not allowing ourselves to not be productive because we’ve been taught it’s bad.

It’s not bad when it’s 100% human.    

That’s the thing with Millennial Burnout Syndrome – it’s the extreme cynics in its core that prevent people from actually having fun. This place is nowhere you’d like to be either. Consistent dissatisfaction with everyday life, work, and all around it. Your life turns into white noise and complete melancholy. Don’t want that? Here’s is the first step to fixing this: 

Put It In Your Planner

Here’s the real tea, let’s put all this theory into practice. Take a look at your planner or schedule, and pick one free day. Do it right now, we’ll wait. Great! Now that you’ve picked out, let’s say, Sunday – that is officially your new “Nothing Day”! This means that every Sunday you will only DO things PASSIVELY. Very passively

No stress, no heavy lifting, no overthinking. This could be reading a breezy book, painting on a sunny afternoon on your balcony, baking cookies and then overeating them without feeling guilty, singing in the shower as loudly as you can without any shame, having friends over for a Harry Potter marathon, and much, much more!

Whatever turns your job or Uni-oriented mind off and your sincere bliss on! 

And before saying you have no time to do this, try it! Just give it a go, one stress-free day. It’s really hard to make sure there are no negative or overbearing thoughts in our heads for 24 hrs. So best believe this one day will bring some GOOD health benefits your way!

Life Is Worth Living

Now for some security, let’s circle around what really matters here – Life! At the end of the day, when all the stress dust has settled, most of us realize how stupid our worrying or even over-working was.  This is because most folks realize that we have only one shot at fulfilling this life. The question is, are we going to spend it overworking for something we’ll never have a chance to enjoy, or, simply enjoy the ride. 

This doesn’t mean hard work isn’t important, it truly is. But the hustle culture surrounding it is toxic beyond explanation. The art of doing nothing is so important to some folks, that the Dutch even have a term for it: “Niksen”! This is because we all need to take it niksen every once in a while before we lose all control of what life is all about.  And trust us, it was never about hustling until you can’t anymore. Going back to where all of this began, the internet, this is very important to always keep in mind: Social media is just highlights and moments, captured in a split of a second, covered with beautiful lies and sunset-colored layers of perfectionism, ready to catch your attention whenever it wants to.

It’s not reality! Listen to your gut, not influencers! 

 

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