do nothing – can you do it?

Okay, it’s Friday evening and I’ve got 3 social engagements to hit tonight, as well as laundry to fold, kitty litter to change, books to read… and my mind is racing with my weekend to-do list (prepare for interview, clean bathroom, read Bhagavad Gita, plan yoga class, buy groceries, go to goodbye party, decide between roller derby or slow dance party for Saturday evening entertainment) and even though none of it’s terribly important there’s this sense of urgency that I must do. it. all.

Or maybe not. Maybe I should just do… nothing. Which is what local yoga teacher Becky Todor is suggesting with her fun initiative, The Do Nothing Challenge. It’s simple: for the next month, between Nov 20 and Dec 20, Becky suggests that we schedule 20 minutes of nothing into our days. While I generally consider myself pretty lazy, I’m also really bad at doing nothing. So I had to ask Becky how do it.

What inspired you to initiate The Do Nothing Challenge?

Becky: After a busy fall, I decided to commit to doing a 20-minute savasana daily for 30 days. I wanted to share the idea with others because I find this is a time of year when we need to relax. Also, sometimes we just need someone to say it’s alright to do nothing!

What do you think it is about this time of year that causes people to overbook themselves/get too stressed out/do too much?

Becky: There’s a lot of momentum that happens in the fall. Even when you’re not in school, there’s that back-to-school feeling. New commitments are accepted – and then suddenly the holidays are here. Your calendar is stuffed with work commitments and parties. It’s all exciting and engaging, but at the same time nature is telling us to turn inward and prepare for winter hibernation. It’s easy to get carried away, but it’s a time of year when slowing down is the most nourishing.

What kind of “nothing” do you like to do? (It’s in quotations because it’s impossible to completely do nothing ~ we’re always breathing, thinking, digesting, etc.)

Becky: Restorative yoga – cozy blanket is a necessity. Riding the metro – instead of thinking about where I’m going, or things I have to do, I just enjoy the fact that I can’t “do” anything on the metro. Also, doing nothing while waiting in line at the grocery store; finding the patience to enjoy the wait. Staying in bed after waking up and savouring the warmth. Flopping over the edge of the couch. Drinking tea when my inbox is full – or a stack of dishes is waiting in the sink!

Whoa, that’s a lot of ways to do nothing! I did manage to do nothing on my metro ride this morning, and I stayed in bed after waking up (though that’s a long-standing habit of pure laziness, so I’m not sure if it counts ~ however, it is going to be my chosen practice for the next 30 days). I’m going to have to figure out how to set a goal for nothing into my day. As Becky reminds us, “Meeting your relaxation goal should not be stressful.” Indeed!

Now, I’m going to finish up my soba noodles and get dressed up for my night out on the town. I’ll do more nothing tomorrow, I promise!

Check out The Do Nothing Challenge Facebook event.

  1. I like this idea a lot! It’s not really doing “nothing,” to me, though — more like recognizing being at that moment, in the time and space wherever you are, without cluttering it up with thoughts of “I have to” or focusing on tasks so that other things are blocked out. I go to work a lot earlier than I need to so I can some space at the start of the day. I get things ready and then sit at my desk looking out the window for a few minutes. It’s great. This is a wonderful idea!!

  2. Love this idea – I also am terrible at doing nothing. Can’t walk up or go down the stairs without something in my hands to put away. Even when laying down for a ‘rest’ I must have a book in my hands or a notepad to write thoughts/plan life. Will definitely have to work more nothing into my schedule.

  3. great to see doing nothing & the gita in the same post.
    two of my favorite things !! // put a smile on my face..
    so, thanks (: