Try Doing Nothing This Holiday: It’s Great for Your Mental Health

Published on: 18 Dec 2015
Liz Lemon couch doing nothing

Planning to do anything — even something fun and relaxing for the holidays — takes work and sometimes causes stress. Then you might want a vacation from the vacation.

Spending at least a day doing nothing is essential to having a restful holiday where your mind and body power down. But that’s only the beginning of why making time to do nothing over the holidays is great for your mental health.

Then there’s learning how you will actually do it and grappling with the definition of “nothing.” We’re aware of the irony of spending time strategizing how you will do nothing, but a quick read will be worth the reward.

What Does ‘Nothing’ Mean?

Spending a day doing nothing means only concerning yourself with sleeping, eating and going to the bathroom. That’s it. It’s up to you whether reading, going on social media and watching your favorite shows are part of nothingness. If these activities have been stressful or made you feel bad, cut them out of your idle time!

Burnout is Real — Doing Nothing Will Put Some Aloe Vera on that Burn

The Big Bang Theory burned

Doing nothing gives you a chance to realize how burned out you are. It’s like going to the gym and waking up sore. Once you feel that ache, you can embrace it and let the nothingness soothe you.

Here is the short list of physical and mental health benefits of taking some time to waste some time:

  • happier mood
  • decreased heart rate
  • replenishes oxygen and glucose to the brain
  • better digestion

You’ll Be More Productive Later On

Did you know J.P. Morgan, someone you might imagine was busy 365 days a year, actually took two months of vacation every year?

“I can get done in 10 months what I could never do in 12,” he said.

Returning to work rested will make you more productive during those hours. It’s all about quality over quantity, so don’t try to chip away at work during your “doing nothing time.”

It Might Provide Your Best Idea Yet

incubation good idea light bulb

Our minds need time to incubate and hatch our best ideas. Being idle is a chance for that eureka moment.

It’s a Chance to Get to Know Yourself

When people sit around and let their worries flutter way, the introspection begins. This is a chance to learn new things that make you happy, relieved, relaxed and enlightened. It could be staring at a garden, taking a walk, listening to a podcast or setting a personal record for sleeping in.

How to Ensure You Have Time to Chill

Part of making time to be idle is saying “no” to people. If someone calls during your “do nothing day,” maybe don’t pick up unless it’s an emergency. Only say “yes” to once-in-a-lifetime invites.

Your time is valuable, so spend some of it treating yourself to the gift of complete inactivity.

Office Space doing nothing Peter

It’s the only gift that rivals our holiday gift card, but only if you give it the right way.

Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.

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