Whatever you do, don’t do anything

Control freaks, workaholics and all you anal retentives –- listen up!

It’s time to take a break.

Photo credit: Creative Commons
Photo credit: Creative Commons

But–rooms need cleaning, laundry has piled up and those emails need answers. There’s just too much to do!

Well, too bad. Today, you’re not doing any of it.

No, do not feel guilty.

The work will be there later.

Chances are, you’ve spent most of your time constantly catching up on a never-finished to-do list.

Stop.

Stop everything until tomorrow.

Photo credit: Creative Commons
Photo credit: Creative Commons

A 2004 academic publication explained “the break-out principle.” Taking a break triggers a mental “switch” that “increases mental function, creativity and productivity.”

So, let your brain relax. It needs time to rest before it can tackle those menacing deadlines.

Yes, yes, I know it’s difficult. But we’ll make it through together.

Here, let me help.

Don’t shower. Lay in your bed. Stare at the ceiling. Count the number of blobs that might be water stains. Figure out what the blobs look like. Give them backstories.

Relax. Exhale. Allow your thoughts to wander. Only move if you feel like it.

Photo credit: Creative Commons
Photo credit: Creative Commons

Turn on the television. Browse through every channel. Watch QVC for a while. Consider buying a blanket with sleeves or a do-it-

yourself jerky kit.

Read something. Not because you should, but because you want to. Find  something from your childhood, high school or college. Spend time with The Grapes of Wrath or maybe Green Eggs and Ham.

Eat. Have ice cream for breakfast. Bake ziti for lunch. Have a beer—have two. Today, take what you want. Today, you’re free.

Drive. Turn up some music and make up directions as you go. Turn down any road that looks interesting. Follow the sun until it sets. You’ll figure out where you’re going when you get there.

Go for a run. Walk. Go to the gym. Take the dog to the park. Listen.

Photo credit: Creative Commons
Photo credit: Creative Commons

Touch. Feel sun on your face. Feel rain on your skin.

Stay up late. Go outside and see everything. Don’t look at it, find beauty and really see. Try to find the stars. Look for constellations, or make up your own.

Avoid your responsibilities at all costs.

If you’re really struggling, try www.donothingfor2minutes.com. The page shows a two-minute timer and plays sounds of ocean waves. If you move the cursor or leave the page, the word “FAIL” appears and the timer resets. If you want to succeed, you have to relax.

It took me a few times to make it all the way to zero on the countdown. So, if you’re having a hard time unwinding, you’re not alone.

When I took high-school painting classes, my professor would say,

Photo credit: Creative commons
Photo credit: Creative commons

“The hardest part of creating art is knowing when to stop.”

Rest is crucial. If your mind is exhausted, your body can’t be far behind.

Take care of yourself.

And whatever you do, don’t do anything.

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