Doing Nothing: Self-Care for the Truly Lazy

There’s been a lot of talk about self-care lately. A lot of people are stressed and worried and freaking out (rightfully so, but that’s not what this is about). So a lot of other people are writing about how to care for yourself to alleviate the physical effects of that stress and worry and freak. Go for long walks, get a massage, drink, smoke weed, treat yo’self, or as the millennials like to say, “Live your best life.”

My version of self-care is a little less “best life” and a little more “no life”, but it works for me.

I love to sit and do nothing.

Not watch TV, not read, not browse the internet or scroll Facebook. Just sit. I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like; the responsibilities of daily life don’t leave me much time for just sitting. Usually, someone climbs into my lap or throws something at me or yells for me to wipe an ass before I have a chance to really get into my sit.

I’m not talking about meditation, either. There’s no lotus position on the floor. No uncomfortable little cushion. There’s no visualization, no counting. My mind wanders as freely as it wants and I don’t correct it or chastise it or try to rein it in. All daydreams are welcome. It’s time for creative thinking or honest reflection  or silent musing. Whatever you want to call it, I like to call it sitting. I just sit.

My husband doesn’t get it. He can’t sit. He needs to have some distraction. TV, phone, something. Just sitting is weird to him. He thinks it’s bizarre. He always asks me what I’m doing. “Just sitting here,” is my rote response. He can’t wrap his head around it. To sit and be still and quiet is completely alien to him. He falls asleep if he sits and does nothing.

"Our screens impede our mindfulness and get in the way of being fully aware. When we’re glued to our screens, we feel protected, but we’re communicating to the world that we are closed off, unavailable; that we don’t want to interact with our surroundings."

We have so many distractions, so many things we can use to occupy our minds, that very few people are willing to just sit and do nothing. Walk through any public place and the majority of people who are alone (or even those who aren’t, more’s the pity) are looking at a screen. Just sitting has become unusual, bizarre.

Why is that? I don’t get it.

We don’t like to feel alone and we don’t like for people to think we’re lonely, maybe. So we pull out the phone or the tablet and talk to people who aren’t there or see what celebrities are wearing or watch Netflix while we’re waiting for the bus. We’re afraid to just sit and be. We’ve become so consumed with ourselves and how other folks perceive us, that we are uncomfortable just being us, just sitting.

Being alone makes us feel vulnerable. Our screens make us feel protected. They are our armor.

But we miss out on so much when we don’t allow ourselves to just sit and think. Watch. Listen. Be. Our screens keep us from committing too much to our present. Our screens impede our mindfulness and get in the way of being fully aware. When we’re glued to our screens, we feel protected, but we’re communicating to the world that we are closed off, unavailable; that we don’t want to interact with our surroundings. That we aren’t open. That we aren’t interested.

Just sitting opens you up to all kinds of things, even if you’re just sitting at home alone. Allowing your mind to wander can be exhilarating (unless you’re prone to anxiety, then it can suck, I’m not gonna lie). I’m weird like that, though. I like to just sit and daydream with no purpose. I don’t write anything down. I don’t try to solve problems or ponder anything specific. I’m not reflecting on the meaning of life or pontificating on complex math (not that I even could, really. Math. Pfft).

I just sit. That’s my self-care.

This article by Kristi Pahr originally appeared on Ravishly and has been republished with permission.

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