The Importance of Idle and Alone Time
We do live in a society where you are valued on what you produce, how much you deliver, what you do, and where you live, more so than who you are. The same push to be productive can turn out to become counter-productive. This is because we start to push people into exhaustion and burn out by making them feel like they always need to be doing something constructive.
What can you do about this? You can start by finding time for yourself. Finding time for yourself does not mean investing thousands of euros into a holiday, and staying in a fancy hotel for a weekend, for which you have worked yourself to exhaustion before and after. Finding time for yourself works best when ideally you have regular small breaks. This will help you to recharge and top up your battery, without ever letting it go completely flat. Mental health is similar to physical health, in that one does not get fit by spending a weekend at the gym every three months. It is about regular, frequent exercise, and the same thing applies to mental breaks. They are more useful and practical when they’re consistent and constant.
These breaks could be simple, such as stopping at a cafeteria, enjoying your favourite beverage, and spending some time reading that book, you would have been meaning to pick up for a while.
It does not have to be a book about self-motivation and self-growth, as even that can be pushing us too much at times. It can be any book, fiction or nonfiction, that helps you relax. Finding simple ways to relax your brain, like enjoying that warm cup of coffee, will help you regenerate and re-energise.
For business people and professionals out there, idle time is crucial. The time when you are sat (or laying) idle, where you are not producing, is necessary. It is during this time that your brain regenerates, your creative fluids are replenished, and your energy is refuelled. Because of this, idle time also helps you come up with fresh, good ideas.
Visit your favourite hangout. Enjoy a tea or snack in silence, merely focusing on the atmosphere in the cafeteria, and enjoying the process of being there, idle, can make a world of difference in increasing your creativity while de-stressing simultaneously.
So the message here is simple. Take time to stop. Breath. And Smell the coffee.
Matthew Bartolo is the founding member of the Willingness Team. He is a counsellor, sex therapist and business mentor.