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Connecticut Children's Collective

It’s Okay to Do Nothing

It seems as though we are all trying to cram our days with activities. Activities for our children, home improvement projects, meditation, exercise, trying new recipes, keeping in touch with family members remotely, reading our entire book list—you get the idea. This is my humble observation, so please take it with a grain of salt. I have found that I am putting extra pressure on myself to be busy constantly during this time when we are all at home. Why is that? Like most of you I have increased my consumption of social media—only Facebook and Instagram because I’m old—but never the less, I see suggestions, and have been posting suggestions too, on fun and easy activities to do with your kids! How to stay calm in the chaos, meals that can be prepared together as a family, how to create science projects, track animals… well you get the point. Here’s the thing though. Yesterday, I worked (remotely) for six hours and then, that was all. The sun had come out during the day, and seeing it triggered all the voices in my head telling me to go outside, walk, get fresh air, it’s good for you! When all I wanted to do was nothing! So I sat down and listened to my body. I realized that I was exhausted. So deeply tired. And so I decided to do nothing.  I planted myself on the couch and bounced around Netflix and Amazon—it felt wonderful!! I wasn’t depressed or in danger of falling into a pit of despair, I just needed a break. And so, I gave it to myself. I invite you to do the same.

 

We are all spinning. I realize that. We are trying to find our balance in the new normal that has been thrust upon us. I get it. I am living it too. But here is the thing, jokes are being made that days are getting all blurred into one, and I think that’s true. And while maintaining a schedule is important, being flexible is also important. And so, if you wish to do nothing on a Wednesday at 2:00, please do it. Your child does not have to be entertained or taught all the time. They need to be cared for, of course, but it is okay if you say to them that our next activity is that we are just going to sit here. We are going to do nothing. Just be. No expectation, no agenda, no stress, or deadlines. Just be there (and it might be in different rooms of the house!). I wonder what would happen. Be kind to yourselves—it’s okay to stare at the wall! Two pieces of advice that I have held onto: this is a marathon, not a sprint, so pace yourself; and I didn’t create the Coronavirus and so I don’t have to fix it. I can only do what I can do, and that is going to look different every day. So remove the pressure of always having to achieve, be engaged, be productive, while yes, we still have to survive, we don’t have to constantly be busy—it’s okay to do nothing—in fact it will help us in the long run to cross the finish line with joy!

 

Here are some articles that expand on this notion of doing nothing. Why don’t you read them some other time.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2020-03-17/coronavirus-home-quarantine-defense-of-boredom

https://www.caller.com/story/opinion/2020/04/03/doing-nothing-takes-backbone-midst-coronavirus/2939376001/

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