Ever since we were kids we were taught that doing nothing is a bad thing.
When you were acting up what was the first thing your parents threatened to do? I’m going to go out on a limb and say they that they threatened a time-out. Merriam Webster defines time-out as:
- a short period of time during a sports event when the game stops and the players rest or talk to their coach
- a short period of time when you stop doing something so that you can rest or do something else
- a short period of time when a child must sit quietly as punishment for behaving badly
Since we were babies we have been conditioned to think of taking a time-out as a bad thing instead of a time to relax and regroup. How differently would we feel about doing nothing if we were conditioned to view time-outs as a good thing instead of punishment?
Nowadays not only couples, but also people in general, have become dependent on activities and technology to entertain them. When we stay home and do nothing, this is looked at as being lazy but in reality, we are just enjoying our home comforts, saving money and recharging.
Now by staying home and doing nothing, I don’t mean dive into a Netflix binge watch session and ignore each other. While Netflix and chill is a great and affordable way to unwind, set a time limit for television and don’t fall into the binge-watching trap.
How much opportunity is missed in getting to know our partners when instead of talking we are watching Ron Swanson rag on the government? Now, we do love our “Parks and Recreation,” but we also try to limit the TV time and don’t get stuck binge-watching since spending time with each other actively communicating is a priority for us.
Why is Netflix and Chill so dangerous for the relationship?
It’s dangerous because all that time spent invested in TV characters could be spent invested in getting to know your partner. My boyfriend and I never run out of things to talk about and some of the best conversations we have had, have occurred when we made the decision to turn off the television and talk rather than to continue watching “Parks and Recreation.” Bottom line is that Netflix or TV in general is a great way to unwind but just remember it’s not the only way. If you spend all of your time together watching instead of talking, it can be detrimental to the relationship.
We found our happy place by setting aside one day a month to do nothing together- a “Do Nothing Day.” This day consists of no technology and, after a morning gym session, staying home together and doing nothing except cuddling, reading together, cooking together, taking a stroll together, and most importantly, talking to each other. We started looking forward to “Do Nothing Day” so much that we just incorporated it into our daily lives.
There are endless benefits from learning to be happy doing nothing. Being happy doing nothing is invaluable because say we get stuck in a location where the service is nonexistent; we aren’t going to go through an existential crisis with what to do. We would be perfectly ok just talking to each other or reading a book. Also if you want to think practically, you save a ton of money by being happy doing nothing. An average night out on the town can cost a couple $100 dollars so if you do a “Do Nothing Day” once a month, that’s $1,200 a year saved and if you do it twice a month, that $2400 could easily pay for your next romantic vacation.
I learned so much about my boyfriend just by talking to him and he learned so much about me as I began to open up more and more as the Do Nothing Day’s went on. The more time we spent talking to each other, the more serious our conversations became. We moved on from “would you rather stick a needle in your eye or lay in a snake pit?” to talking about our goals and dreams and building our life together to reach them.
Sometimes we get so comfortable not talking that we have all these questions in our head that we never ask and because of that we feel insecure or unsure of the relationship we are in. Learn to ask those questions and encourage conversation.
You want to learn how to be happy doing nothing? Here are some tips.
Start off gradually.
Maybe set aside 1 hour every day, a Do Nothing Hour, where the two of you unplug and spend quality time together without electronics. Then slowly increase it until you have your very own Do Nothing Day.
It may be easier to relax and open up to each other with a little assistance from Mr. Charles Shaw or if you are feeling a little more fancy, Mr. Robert Mondavi. Sometimes we will pour two glasses of wine, make a scrumptious cheese and meat platter, open the windows, light candles, sip, nibble and chat.
Get over FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
You may initially feel the need to check Facebook and you start scrolling down only to see that your friends are at a club having fun and you may start to question your choice of staying in. This is natural but the minute you start questioning it, remind yourself how much money you are saving by staying in and just think of ease of conversation you are experiencing due to the lack of club music blaring in your ears. Then immediately put down your phone and focus on your significant other.
Get a pet.
Scratch that-get a dog. Everyone knows cats aren’t real pets right? Dogs are the greatest non-human things in the world. In fact I would argue that my 7lb Pomeranian is cleaner and more intelligent than most people are. If you get a pet, leaving home will be a lot harder as they will glance up at you with their sad eyes and make you feel a great deal of shame for leaving them. Plus, pets are the best example of how to be happy doing nothing, since they don’t have Netflix accounts, IPhones, and cant call an Uber to take them to the nearest bar.
Cuddling is awesome. There is a reason why professional cuddling services are available to the public. Everybody likes to feel loved and cozy so cuddling is a great way to achieve that feeling, get intimate with each other and truly do nothing. Also, unless you are using those professional cuddling services, cuddling is completely free.
I implore you to try a Do Nothing Day. Whether you are in a relationship or not, it is extremely gratifying to know that you can be satisfied doing nothing. So maybe next weekend instead of jam-packing your calendar set aside one day to revel in the blissfulness of doing nothing. If you are in a relationship, I can promise you that the time the two of you spend at home doing nothing but just being together and being in the moment with each other, will strengthen your bond and will increase your level of emotional intimacy with each other.
I wish I could go back to my childhood and every time I was put in time-out enjoy it. Instead of crying though those 5 minutes, which felt more like 65 minutes, I wish I knew how to enjoy each minute and how to find true happiness and contentment in doing nothing because once you know how to happy doing nothing, then you don’t need anything to make you happy except maybe love, wine and some really good food.