Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Weekend I Was Compelled To Do Nothing

What is your break time activity? (Photo credit)
How many times do we check our phone in a day? And how many times is that an unconscious, almost a reflex action? Imagine if the very act of looking into the screen and trying to read a message made your head spin that you just had to give up? Sounds funny, right? But that's how I spent the last weekend and a couple of more days - couldn't look at the phone for 2 and limited use for the rest. My laptop lay forgotten for almost 3 days. I suffer from Vertigo usually when I travel to places at an altitude. But since I hadn't done that in the recent past, I was surprised on feeling dizzy. looking back, I recalled that I had it once last year due to lack of proper sleep too. But that also wasn't the case this time. The only think I could pin it down to was the extreme humidity in which I was out for meetings and other work the previous week. And the resulting dehydration.

While I did take it casually when it started on Friday, I had to pay the price for it during the weekend. Browsing on my cellphone - which is usually my all-time, any-where activity wasn't possible. What next? Watch a movie? Manageable but that made me dizzy in a few minutes. All I could do was prop myself on pillows and stare at the ceiling or close my eyes. (Lying down was impossible because of dizziness).

So what happens when we are forced to do nothing? Our mind wanders! And for obvious reasons, my mind started grappling with this unusual, unfamiliar state of doing nothing. Not even idly fiddle with my phone! And I started thinking about the last time I was doing nothing - like this? I couldn't come up with an answer for as long back as I could jog my memory. It's usually the frenzied pace of work - blogging (3 posts a week on some lucky weeks), social media, reading (definitely trying to at least), trainings, meetings, business plans, re-planning of plans that don't work, networking events or the frenetic activities of personal life - laundry, cleaning, cooking, bills, running errands, working out and the biggest part of my life - making to-do lists! I realised how much at ransom I was being held by these lists. I even have some for the weekend - household chores to take care of or errands to run - before manic Monday starts all over again.

With all these thoughts going around in my mind, I realised that when we forget to take breaks, nature ensures that we slow down. It always has a way of telling our body and mind that it's time to restore some balance. I don't think I'd have spent my weekend and a couple of weekdays in bed if I wasn't forced to. I slept like I haven't in a long time. It was the oddest feeling to be napping on a tuesday afternoon! Moral of the story: I think we should just take time off before we get carried away doing more than we can handle and things come to a standstill.

One day in a week when we won't even worry about laundry (chore on my weekend too) or grocery shopping. Set out a day to take care of ourselves. Pause the worries and the never ending list of tasks on our To-dos. My sister used to do this on her weekly off years ago - she'd soak her feet in warm water while applying a face pack. Some times, it used to hair pampering. She'd give herself those few hours away from the frenetic pace of every day life. I think it's a great way to take time out.

A day in a week - maybe most of the weekend - put away my list of tasks and take it easy. Not that I believe in digital detox but being away from the phone would make time for a lot of other things that I enjoy. Catch up with reading, colouring or my puzzle book. Things that I struggle to do on work days. And the guilt of not being able to do it only adds to the stress.

I've made my plans for my break time so that I don't have to take forced time out. Stop for a minute and ponder what is the guilty pleasure you'd like to indulge in on a day away from your usually crazy life. What are things that you'd love to find time for - working out, swimming, catching up with friends, learning an instrument? What is going to be your break time activity? Share it with my in your comments. I'd love to know your favourites. Maybe, I'll find something new to add to my list!

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