A guide for people who are really bad at doing nothing

This exercise won’t automatically fix what’s wrong (and it’s easier said than done for many of us!), but it may keep you from reaching for your phone to avoid feeling your feelings, says Dr. Zucker. Similar to the guilt tip above, once you’ve identified what you’re struggling with, you may be able to address it, either with a mental health professional or on your own, so it doesn’t continue to obstruct your downtime.

3. Reframe how you see “me time.”

“When we come from a space of being, we are often more capable of being the people we want to be than when we come from a place of ‘doing’ because we are not anxious, I have to prove that I am worthy place,” says Dr. Gooden. “We do better for others and for ourselves when we are rested, nourished and have had time to play compared to when we are overworked or exhausted. Investing in yourself helps you show yourself to the world the way you want to.”

If you’re having a hard time relaxing because you think you’re letting yourself or others down, consider how you want to present yourself to the people in your life (including yourself). You may want to bring a no-nonsense presence to parenting, be a less reactive partnereither feel less stressed at work. Then think about what helps you relax (perhaps it’s a walk in the park at noon, a fake napor sit alone on the couch for an hour with a crossword puzzle) and do your best to prioritize it, asking for help if you need it. Realizing that downtime allows you to be your best can help you reframe it as essential rather than selfish, unproductive, or [insert negative adjective here].

4. Consider adding some structure to your relaxation.

Do you have a hard time sitting still with a blank agenda? Some studies have discovered that brief episodes of mindfulness meditation—30 minutes or so—can boost creativity, suggesting that the brain thinks better when it’s calm, and in general, mindfulness exercises can make it easier to think. relax. Even a 5 or 10 minute meditation session or some yoga poses can help you get into a more relaxed state. Since these practices have some structure, they can gradually make it easier for you to just be, according to Dr. Zucker (she likes the app information timer for short, relaxing mindfulness sessions).

“A yoga pose or a guided mini-meditation can help you feel like you’re doing something and calm your mind at the same time,” she says. Just remember: “Try not to judge whether or not you’re ‘good’ at these practices,” says Dr. Zucker. If critical thoughts arise, try repeating a mantra like, I’m working on just being in my space, either, This is the best I can do right now, and it’s good enough.

5. Do something, if you want! Just make it something you (key word!) really enjoy.

Resting doesn’t necessarily mean literally doing nothing, but it does mean getting satisfaction from whatever you do (or don’t do). Sounds simple, but the next time you have free time, Dr. Gooden recommends thinking about what You you want to do, not what you think would get likes on social media or what your critical thoughts tell you you “should” do. Maybe it’s eating your favorite dessert, spending 15 minutes with your child, or reading a romance novel. Whatever you choose, do it carefully and savor the moment: smell the food. Give your child your full attention. Feel the weight of the book in your hand. Put your phone out of reach.

Orienting your free time toward what makes you feel good, rather than what you want others to see or what you think you should be doing, helps you rid yourself of perfectionism and other pressures that ultimately cloud relaxation, explains the Dr. Gooden. you are out of your head and fully present,” she says. “The enjoyment you feel afterward will help reinforce the behavior.” The more you really let go, the easier it will be, yes, even for you.

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