The (Complicated) Art Of Doing Nothing

Elaine Mead
May 28 · 3 min read

I haven’t left the house all day. Not even to check the mail.

No doubt you will assume laziness on my part and I can accept your judgments because I’m confident I’ve done just enough with my day to not be deserving of that title (although I honestly can’t say the same can be said for other days).

Here we are. In the middle of a full-scale pandemic. For many of us, we have more time on our hands than ever before, and yet fewer things to fill that time with. Doing nothing, very often in our busy work-focused culture, is frowned upon, and goes some way to explaining why we’re having the creative outpourings of Shakespeare et al during similar circumstances flouted in our faces.

And contrary to popular thought, doing nothing is an event in and of itself. I can tell you from personal experience, it is not as easy as one might think.

We are utterly entangled with the ideas that we must constantly be doing something, looking busy, following a routine, adhering to shoulds and musts. In a world where being busy to the point of exhaustion is the status quo, taking the time to sit, and pay attention to nothing very much is quite a challenge.

I’ve recently found myself in a state of transition. The expectations I have for myself and my perceived expectations I think others have for me, do not sit well with the art of doing nothing.

Not. One. Bit.

The interesting thing is, after taking much of the day forcing myself to do nothing, I do feel calmer. I turned off my mobile phone and took my time over some chores, allowing my mind to wander. I took a long walk along the river. The day has passed quicker than expected and I find that some of the anxiety I’ve been battling with is starting to waver.

In challenging times, especially ones where we have nowhere to go, sometimes the hardest place to go is within.

So, I invite you to join me. Spend some time quietly doing nothing.

It might be the unexpected antidote we all need.


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a Few Words

A few words can change lives.

Elaine Mead

Written by

Educator + Writer | Careers Guidance & Positive Psychology for a Purposeful Life | Sharing Experiences, Mistakes & Lessons Learned | msha.ke/wordswithelaine 📝

a Few Words

A few words can change lives.

Elaine Mead

Written by

Educator + Writer | Careers Guidance & Positive Psychology for a Purposeful Life | Sharing Experiences, Mistakes & Lessons Learned | msha.ke/wordswithelaine 📝

a Few Words

A few words can change lives.

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