We are upon the European summer right now where people around Europe are thinking about taking some time off. Whether it be a staycation or a vacation what we really want to do is pretty much nothing.
I’m on holiday right now sitting by a swimming pool wondering what it is to do nothing - because im not actually doing nothing, I’m still doing something. I’m writing this blog post right now but im doing it in a way that feels not like work but like rest.
When I go on holiday I’d like to think of some loose activities that I can do in times between swims like reading and cooking.
Some of those loose activities mainly require some brain power and take advantage of that whimsical state you are in when you are on holiday - optimistic and relaxed. I think this is the perfect time to think about some big picture things in your life especially if you know your life needs a bit of tweaking. I don't for a second believe you should make any epic, life changing decisions but more ponder things. So ponder life is my first point.
You need to put some serious time aside for pondering. If you are anything like me, hours can pass by without having a thought in my head at all. I think morning time is a good time to ponder. Watering plants or doing yoga stretches whilst on holiday is a great time to build up your pondering muscles. But how does one ponder? Thinking about your answers to these and other questions might help.
What are some annoying things in your life right now
What are things that make you argue with your partner?
Where do you want to be living in 5 or 10 years time?
What hobbies or past times make you truly happy?
You might not be able to go and visit a spa, but you definitely can pamper yourself at home or on holiday. Take your nice smelling products with you and set aside some time to pamper yourself physically. Get that cream into all those crevices and locations you barely address.
The benefits of moisturising, preening and pampering yourself are that you will get more in touch with your body and appreciate it. You might also notice changes in your body which are important to observe. Give loved ones a massage too. Recently i bought a set of 'cups'. Cupping is an ancient form of alternative therapy in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage. If you don't have the strength to massage yojurself or others you can get a set of these cups and achieve a similar result. I also brought some nail varnish along with me so i can do my nails, its quite meditative and forces you to sit still for a little while whilst the varnish is drying.
When pampering yourself you are doing nothing but sort of doing something beneficial to your body at the same time. You can sit in silence and do these things and feel really relaxed and invigorated after.
Hide your phone away for chunks of time if you can. Just being away from devices will feel like a holiday in itself. Put your "out of office" on your email so you won't feel guilty for not replying to emails straight away.
You might even venture out without your phone. Its not something you might do because you think you might want to take a photo or record your steps or something like that, but there might be some time in the evening or when you are spending time with the kids that it will be really worth it to put your phone away.
This is a great article by Fast Company which is all about How to Build a rest ethic which is as strong as your work ethic, the article argues rightly that we should put as much energy and intention into our rest time as our work time. It is definitely worth a read.
Like people watching, being nosey (showing too much curiosity about other peope's affairs) is great. One, because it shifts attention away from you and thinking too introspectively and two, it shows interest in others. Whether it be looking over your neighbours fence or sitting on a park bench watching people walk by, you can gain a lot of interesting thoughts and ideas from simply observing.
As a bag designer i people watch constantly. The best places to see a wide range of bags is at an airport so i always make sure i'm people watching then. Its also great to see how people use their bags and accessories on buses, trains, bicycles and other transportation.
Right now, whilst i'm here in Italy looking out the window with a coffee into neighbours gardens and houses i think about who they might be?, what their life might be like?, who does their gardening? etc. Lots of questions which don't really matter but transport me to another place. I think it is a great way to appreciate what you have by observing other people and seeing people living their own lives. It really is doing 'nothing' but also enriching in so many ways.
What other ways do you think you can do nothing but still learn or experience something positive? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below.