Amidst COVID-19, how many times have you heard someone say, "Now that I have more time, I want to be more productive"?
What is productivity? The dictionary definition is, "the state or quality of producing something." Why does the addition of more time automatically equate to more output? In Western culture we were already at max capacity. Could more time simply be more space for quiet? More time to pause?
Not everyone has more time right now. There are those who have continued to work in essential businesses and even increased their hours. There are those doing full-time childcare and full-time work. Those who are severely ill and need to focus all energy on healing. The myth that COVID-19 should be a time of extra productivity, is damaging to many.
Because productivity is so ingrained in our culture, most of us do not know how to pause or rest. In addition, a quiet mind can allow for anxiety, so we work hard to keep our mind occupied. I decided to write a post with 50 concrete examples of how to slow down without having anything) or very little) to show for it. Added bonus: nothing on the list is done on a screen.
All 50 will not be accessible to all. As you are reading the list, preface each statement with, “If it is safe…” Consider trying one or two each day.
50 Non-Productive Things To Enjoy (Not On a Screen):
1. Stare out the window and notice color and light.
2. Watch the wind blow through the trees.
3. Take a bath with a bath bomb and candles.
4. Snuggle up with a cup of tea with or without a good book.
5. Call a friend and talk about anything other than coronavirus.
6. Look through old photo albums or yearbooks.
7. Watch the rainfall and pay attention to the scent in the air.
8. Do a few half sun salutations. Notice how you feel.
9. Scribble with bold colors on plain paper.
10. Name your plants. If you can't think of names, name them after your favorite television or movie characters.
11. Cuddle with your pet and don't get up until they do.
12. Play a record and really listen to it.
13. Go on a meandering walk in a new neighborhood. Notice what you like and dislike about the houses.
14. Splurge on a couple new magazine subscriptions of your favorite topics.
15. Slowly sip your morning coffee in your favorite chair.
16. Listen to a podcast or audio book.
17. Finally hang that wall art.
18. People and dog watch in your neighborhood. Decide if people look like their dogs.
19. Stream of consciousness writing.
20. Try on unexpected outfit combinations and think about where you might wear them.
21. Eat ice cream from the carton.
22. Bird watch with binoculars.
23. Read old journals.
24. Drag a box out of storage and remember all the things you forgot you had.
25. Play a board game.
26. Draw with chalk on the sidewalk like you did as a child.
27. Nap with no alarm set.
28. Experiment with makeup, nail polish, and your new quarantine hair.
30. Watch the sunset from dawn to light.
31. Watch the sunrise dusk to dark.
32. Go on a short drive with no agenda.
33. Literally smell the flowers around your neighborhood.
34. Daydream. Scribble the images from your imagination.
35. Scan the room and notice what your eyes are drawn to. Explore it further.
36. Aimlessly walk though your living space, noticing with new eyes.
37. Ask a friend for their favorite recipe and make it.
38. Staring contest.
39. Practice feeling gravity under your feet and sit bones.
40. Earthing (walking on the earth with bare feet), preferably in sand or grass.
41. Enjoy a glass of wine outside.
42. Field trip to a drive thru coffee shop. Order a drink you've never had.
43. Do a puzzle without looking at the picture on the box.
44. Send a postcard or letter to someone who is lonely.
45. Visit a landmark or park you've never been to in your city.
46. Solitaire with playing cards.
47. Easy crosswords or word searches.
48. Look through a coffee table book that you've barely ever opened.
49. Cut up a magazine and make a collage.
50. Hug someone for an entire minute.
This is not an easy time for anyone. You do not have to put on a brave face or produce anything at all. Doing nothing is a beautiful thing.
"This was a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before." - Maya Angelou
It's not about finding the answers, it's about asking the right questions.
Today is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Reflecting today on the deep inhale our Mother Earth is taking as we navigate coronavirus—knowing that suffering and hope can exist at the same time.
Today's words are by Chief Seattle. Healing Words is an ongoing series with the intention of shifting focus away from suffering and onto healing.
Please feel free to share words that have helped you heal or your thoughts on these healing words.
I'm Kerry (She/Her/Hers) and I am a licensed therapist, writer & speaker. This is a positive space focused on how to thrive in any situation and the transformative power of suffering.