Do you feel like you always have to keep busy? That you always have to do something useful? And do you crave silence and some inner peace? Good plan, let’s see.
Always wanting to do something useful
I know how it feels, believe me. Living with the idea that you’d better do something useful. That you’d better finish one more task, take on one more project, and make one more change. Because when that task is done you can finally rest .
The problem with this, of course, is that this is rarely true. Yes – when you have completed all those tasks you should be able to rest. But you don’t. Because you are used to just moving on to the next task.
I hear this very often from people who like to work effectively: they have a hard time relaxing. They always want to do something useful. It feels impossible to just relax on the couch for an hour. Because you might as well pick up the vacuum cleaner, scrub the toilet or drive to the hardware store to finally get that one skirting board.
But you can’t go on forever
At least – it is possible. And there are many people who do it. But as far as I’m concerned, these are not always the examples you would like to aspire to. Because in a society in which so many people feel constantly stressed and overwhelmed, get stressed or even end up in a burnout, it is wise to question what we consider ‘normal’.
And of course it depends on your character. Because there are people who keep busy without any problems, and wouldn’t want it any other way. And if you feel happy and happy – why change it?
But if you feel like you should be doing useful things when you really don’t feel like it , it’s interesting to see if you can adjust something.
Rest is useful
Of course you already knew this, but we seem to forget it so often. Almost all of us believe that happiness, tranquility and contentment lie hidden in the future . And that we can experience it by doing and changing things .
- When I finish this project I can finally rest.
- If I earn this amount I will be happy.
- As soon as I don’t have to do this anymore, I’m happy.
And if you really believe this, it makes sense that you will always be busy. Because we all want to feel happy and calm, so we do whatever it takes to make that happen.
But in this quest for future happiness, we lose sight of the fact that this seductive story is not true. And it doesn’t make sense for a few reasons:
- The future only exists in our minds, happiness cannot happen in the future.
- There is always only now, so you can only experience happiness in the moment.
- By pushing your happiness forward, you feel constantly dissatisfied in the moment, and you are endlessly working on solving that dissatisfaction so that you can be happy in the future. And that brings you back to point 1.
This is the rat race . Constantly working harder and harder to be happy in the future . While in the meantime you always feel a bit dissatisfied, tense and overwhelmed.
Rest, lounging, expecting nothing from yourself – these things are a cure for the endless cycle. Doing nothing is more useful than it seems.
Ways to weave doing nothing into your life
All nice. But if you are one of those people who prefers to be always busy with useful things, how do you weave this kind of tranquility into your life? How can you make more room for rest, without the unrest that you experience because you do nothing useful for a while?
Simple: you plant the uselessness in .
it is not that hard. You grab your agenda and choose a moment when you do ‘nothing’ for at least an hour. For example, a moment when you take a nap without feeling guilty. Or on which you take a walk while your smartphone is allowed to take a nap at home.
You organize small moments of peace and freedom in your week, and you challenge yourself to really lounge around and expect nothing of yourself .
And the crazy thing is, it can feel particularly useful. After all, you stick to your schedule and you help to keep yourself mentally healthy. Pretty nice.
you are not a robot
Exactly – this is the gist of the story. You are not a robot. You are human. Many people are trying to become more and more like robots – more and more productive, more and more efficient. But this is getting less interesting by the day.
Why? The more real artificial intelligence is incorporated in our lives, the more clearly we see that it is not so interesting to live as if you were a machine.
Always keep the machines running. That’s what they are made for. You thrive when you occasionally take the time to do nothing at all. If you give yourself the space to not be busy for a while .
- Go for a walk for a few hours.
- Visit family without expecting anything.
- Walk around aimlessly and pet a dog or watch the ducks.
- Sit down in a coffee shop with a nice book.
- Give yourself an afternoon off.
Inhale deeply and exhale slowly . Happiness can only be experienced in this moment. Not later, not tomorrow – now. Don’t keep running endlessly. Make room for appreciation for your life as it is now. Even if your life isn’t perfect right now.
Because that is ultimately all that needs to be done. If you can be content with this moment, then you are happy. Then you’re done. Then you can finally relax. Give it a try – it’s quite nice.
Find more time for yourself
Finding time for yourself is challenging sometimes. Maybe because you have a busy life, maybe because you feel guilty or feel you don’t deserve it.