The art of 'doing nothing'
During the pandemic we have spent so much time confined to such a small part of our world that there are studies and research articles suggesting many people are experiencing a form of 'brain fog'. This blog fog is suggested to cause a number of cognitive frustrations and problems, such as difficulty concentrating, issues with memory and more.
One of the suggested reasons for this 'fog' is the lack of neuron development and stimulation. Due to the restrictions, in large we have seen the same limited part of our environment for the best part of 2 years and haven’t been able to engage in the same social activities or movement (travel, exercise, freedom) that we previously would have. As we move out of the pandemic restrictions is vital that we engage with different things around us to help reinvigorate ourselves. For example, walking in the pandemic wasn't valuable just because it was a form of exercise, but it was a time when people weren't looking at screens or the same four walls. It was a marvellous way to break up the more negative habits that were creeping in for so many and to give a little structure to an otherwise low energy day.
This is also important as part of a 'work-life balance'. We need to have time, even if just in small chunks, to let our minds wander and be free - thinking in a creative space. Many people associate ‘creativity’ with those working in the arts and design fields when in fact so many areas of our lives involve creative thinking – what we wear, how we set up our homes, how we prepare meals and in many areas of our working lives – regardless of industry.
I read an article recently about the purpose of doing nothing - proper 'nothing' (Micky Flanagan fans amongst us will know the alternative phrase for this...). This ‘nothing’ is about not relaxing whilst scrolling, or even reading or watching a good film – things which can of course be helpful to break away from work; but it’s a time to just be present. When we connect with social media, books, or tv, our mind is not free – it is still being stimulated and doesn’t relax fully. Yet when we stop, are mindful and present, actively taking time to properly look around us and listen, letting our minds get lost in different thoughts - we start to decompress. From here we are likely to get more clarity and relaxation, which ultimately leads to better solutions and creative outcomes. We are more likely to then have freedom of the mind to problem solve and increase our own energy.
Yesterday, I had the fortune of spending some quality time with my husband walking around London. London is one of our favourite places and whenever we go we try to spend as much time on foot as possible, seeing lots of different spots of the city.
Walking in new locations is such a simple thing that can do wonders for an individual’s mental health and stress levels, whilst also topping up simple exercise that is so good for our physical health and sleep cycles. It is such a great time to properly notice the area around you, seeing different style buildings and contrasting elements of nature – especially in comparison to the more rural area of the world I live in.
One of the places we stopped at was Columbia Road Flower Market – it was busy but with what I can only describe as a ‘Sunday energy’ that was calm and relaxing. So many people were out walking – whether with friends, family, their dogs and children – and the atmosphere was just lovely. I bought some new dried flowers for the office, and they will serve as a beautiful reminder to take the time to just pause, observe and do nothing – without guilt.
So if nothing else this week, try to take 10 minutes to just give yourself permission to recharge the batteries and do absolutely nothing at all.
I hope you all have a marvellous week and that 2022 has started well for you.