“Nothing” Time

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

The more dependent our generation becomes on technology and the more we expect everything to be instantaneous, the more I see and read about the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle by unplugging and even meditating every day. In health articles, this advice usually follows statements acknowledging the hefty responsibilities we all seem to have added to our plates. Said articles then go on to say that the more time we’ve committed to productivity of whatever kind, the more we need to carve out time to do nothing. And while I’m not here to say that advice is wrong – I certainly agree with the logic of it – I am here to say What time?

I’ve tried to do this, I really have. But I’ve found that stopping everything – pushing aside other activities in an attempt to be calmer – only gives me time to think about all the things I could be doing, and it leads to even more anxiety. But the big point, I think, is that we’re supposed to give our brains a break; we’re on hyper-drive all the time, because our brains don’t count after-work/school iPhone scrolling and Netflix watching as relaxing.

Yet as someone who really cannot sit and do nothing, I’ve still managed to find my meditation. I honestly believe that consistent exercise keeps me sane despite my insane schedule. Whether it’s hiking, or going for a run, or hitting one of my favorite Group X classes at Campus Rec, I always feel decompressed afterwards, and the prospect of making it to the gym always makes a tough day go a little better. So, I’ll be an advocate for those of us who want to live a healthy lifestyle but for whom nothing just isn’t in the cards. I think it’s okay to say “that’s not for me.” Just as long as you find your meditation.

Picture above: My own meditation, Saint Mary’s Lookout, Stevensville, MT; hike to 9,300 feet.

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