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FITNESS

Wellness

Why you should devote some time to doing absolutely nothing

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As we've covered before, taking a break from it all can be a big boost for your mental and physical health. Just like your body needs sleep, your mind needs a break from the constant info hurtling towards you 24/7 through your screens. But doing nothing is about more than unplugging for a little while.

See, you don't actually have to do "nothing" as in sit in an empty room and stare at a blank wall. Jenny Odell, author of the mega-popular 2019 book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, frames doing nothing as a means of changing what you're engaging with every day.

Social media and other addictive apps are competing for your attention. But instead of getting sucked into an endless scroll, you can focus on redirecting your attention to things like nature, art and your community. It might feel like you're being unproductive, but taking care of your mental wellness *is* productive.

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Of course, you can't do nothing all the time. Maybe you have to go to work, or you've got a big test coming up that demands hours of studying. But taking as little as fifteen minutes a day to walk in your yard, read a poem or spend meaningful time with your fam can make a big difference. It adds up to a little over *ninety* hours per year.

It's easy to feel like you always have to be communicating with someone, or pushing yourself in an art or sport. But taking a break will improve your relationships and your performance. Another way to think about it is like you're taking care of a pet. You'd let them have a break, right? That's why you need one too—otherwise, you'll end up like Gary in that episode of Spongebob where he loses a race to a rock.

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As a writer, I've struggled with taking time to do nothing—especially when my free time is limited by schoolwork. The fewer hours I have off, the more I feel like I have to use that time to write a new story or revise an old one. If that sounds counterproductive as heck, that's because it is. My writing is best when it's informed by real-life experiences and emotions, which I can't get when I'm working 24/7.

So, take a break. Binge the next season of ATLA or crochet a bracelet for a friend. If you really want to stare at a blank wall, do that! Okay, not really. But invest whatever time you can afford into redirecting your attention to the little things. You might be surprised by what you learn.

What's your go-to lazy day activity? Share with us on Twitter @girlslifemag!

Slider Image: Pexels

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by Bailey Bujnosek | 8/8/2020
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