Finding opportunities for relaxation and presence in your everyday life can be easier than you might think. Things don’t have to be big or dramatic to make a difference, either. We believe the best way to start finding a greater sense of pause is to start small.
It takes real effort and intention to allow yourself the time and space to do nothing, but it’s immeasurably rewarding. Making the time to do nothing (or at least, very little) brings you into the present moment, can help you relax, and can help you reconnect to what matters in your life.
Of course, doing nothing isn’t ever really nothing—we’re always thinking, breathing, being. These suggestions can help you get just a little bit closer to doing nothing by bringing you into the present moment.
Little tip: If you’re a to-do list person, try adding one of these to your to-do list. It’s a great way to trick yourself into doing “nothing,” while still feeling productive.
Image Blue Sky by JimFromIowa
Gaze at the horizon
Choose a spot near you where you can gaze at the horizon or the skyline, and simply notice. And, take the time to really, properly look, instead of just glancing. How does the light fall across the horizon? What shades of colour in the sky can you notice? Where do the shadows fall? Try revisiting this spot at different times of the day, and notice how it shifts and evolves as the time passes.
Sip on warm tea
Notice the taste of the tea, notice the texture of the mug. Sip slowly and mindfully, and preferably outside or somewhere you feel relaxed.
Take a nap (or just some deep breaths)
Give yourself some rest. Build a short nap into your daily routine, and allow yourself the freedom of letting things go mid-day. If not a nap, try taking a few minutes for deep breathing—lie down, inhale, exhale, repeat.
Really (really) listen
When was the last time you properly listened to music? We’re so often listening in the background while we’re cooking, driving, working. But, see how it feels to just sit somewhere and listen to a song—allow every note to wash over you, and feel what comes up.
Soak in some water
If you know us, you might not be so surprised to see this one on the list — a soak is the perfect slow down moment. Let your thoughts come and go, and feel the water around you. Take in the heat, notice the smells, and pay attention to your breath or your heartbeat. Try experiencing it in a slightly different way—put your ears underwater and notice the faded noises and the weightlessness that you feel.
Care for a plant
Whether it’s a tiny houseplant on your windowsill or an outdoor garden, take a moment to spend a few moments caring for it. Notice how the plant is doing, and how you can support it. Consider that this plant is really, genuinely alive—and all of the intricate, hidden processes happening that keep it that way.
We’re in a culture of hustling, productivity, monetizing hobbies, and results. A great way to slow down is to do something that just isn’t productive. Spend an hour cooking an elaborate meal for yourself, that you then promptly eat. Take your time setting the table, and notice how big of a difference this can make in your meal. Take time drawing something, and then recycle it. Stare at a wall. See how it feels to do something when you don’t get to keep the results.