Good Advice

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Do you know how to relax? Why you should make time to do nothing

woman staring out window

When was the last time you did absolutely nothing?

As overworked New Yorkers, we tend to take a type-A approach even when it comes to relaxation.

We jam massage and acupuncture appointments in between meetings. We dash to yoga class. Even a meditation practice can become a task that requires energy and focus.

Guess what? For health, happiness, and basic sanity, we need time to completely chill, unplug, and do absolutely nothing, say experts.

We asked three why it’s so important to just stare out a window, and for tips on how to make it happen.

Laurie GerberLaurie Gerber
Life coach, president of Handel Group Life Coaching

I designate at least four hours a week to do nothing. My rule is that I cannot produce any measurable result during that time or tick off any other commitments or promises. This basically leaves…napping, staring out the window, reading for pleasure, playing games, journaling, making art…. It has to be restorative.

We absolutely must take this time for our well-being—all doctors, philosophers, religions and spiritual leaders agree on this fact. The thing is, people mostly “steal” or sneak this time rather than designing it, planning it, and setting it aside.

I recommend owning up to the fact that you need and desire time off every day and designing it in advance. You won’t know how good (and mature) that feels until you’ve tried it.

Gabrielle BernsteinGabrielle Bernstein
Self-help phenom, motivational speaker, and author of Spirit Junkie

Chillaxing is a spiritual practice. When you sit in stillness and do nothing—not even meditate—your mind has an opportunity to recalibrate. Doing nothing allows your thoughts to pass through you naturally and clears space for you to reconnect to your ~ing (inner guide).

The time I spent on vacation doing NOTHING really helped me reconnect to my ~ing and let the Universe do her thing. Step back, slow down and just BE.

DandapaniDandapani
Hindu priest and meditation teacher, founder of Vedic Odyssey

Sitting down and doing nothing for a little while each day is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It’s the first step towards taking control of your mind, body, and emotions. You have to make it a priority in your life.

When people ask me for a meditation practice they can do, I often recommend they start with five minutes each morning where they sit down and do nothing.

If you feel you don’t have five minutes a day to spare, pull out last month’s cell phone bill and see how many minutes you spent on the phone talking to someone else. If you can commit that much time to others in a month, you are worth at least five minutes a day to yourself.

And the best time to do it is first thing in the morning before life starts to take hold of you. —Lisa Elaine Held

Got any tips for chilling out? Share them in the Comments, below!

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