I could find plenty of quotes about the hazards of being idle but none about the benefits. Maybe I did not search properly (not a strong skill of mine!) and maybe I am mistaken in my opinion (happens often apparently) but I believe there is much to be gained by being idle.
To me being idle means resting, stepping away from the normal routine of life, allowing the mind and body to let go. Being idle is an essential part of my wellness plan and I hope you will consider adding more of it to your life after reading this post.
The most popular way to be idle seems to be to go on vacation – get away from it all – then you have no choice but to step back from your everyday life. Though, more and more I see people with computers when on vacation which seems to defeat the purpose…leave the ties behind when you travel for fun. I love vacations and strongly recommend them to everyone but it is not always available or feasible. Here are just a few suggestions to be idle:
- Be a tourist in your own town; visit a museum or park you have not explored before. Splurge on the audio tour; you’ll be amazed how that can transform the experience.
- Find a beautiful nature trail and walk it, not for exercise but for respite. Enjoy it in complete silence and notice nature’s abundance along the way.
- Do something locally you have never done – visit a winery, paddle board, trapeze lessons. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and the familiar.
- Sit in silence near a body of water, and simply observe.
- Curl up on a comfy chair, with a fire if you like, and read a book for hours and hours.
- Many repetitive actions can be idleness in motion – walking, running, swimming (as long as it serves no other primary purpose)
Some of the emotions that come up when we are idle are worth observing – guilt, shame, fear, anger, sorrow. As I have mentioned before, when you shine a light on something it has no choice but to change and if you are feeling any of these “negative” emotions while at rest then those emotions exist in your life all the times and the peace of idleness simply allows them to surface.
We all deserve time of rest, time to simply be; without it we crumble and stumble our way through life. I find idleness to be the time when I experience the most growth; I discover more about who I am in an hour of walking than in a year of reading self-help books.
And through this self-discovery I am better able to embrace my strengths, soften my judgments and step into the abundance of my life.