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Why it's important to do nothing every once in a while

Let's start off with an exercise. This is a moment to pause in your life. Look back on your life. Look back about a week. How has your life been? Can you tell this week apart from the last and from the one before it? Can you see you life changing when you look back on the last month?

If you thought 'Umm, not really' to yourself as the answer these questions, hang on for a minute. I urge you to go through with this blogpost.

I am writing this post as I'm myself emerging from a break of sorts. A break which I often naturally gravitate towards atleast twice during the course of a year.

So let's deal with the elephant in the room here.

A lot of times, we get so into the routine and the usuals in life that it starts to feel like you're stuck in a rut. You seem to be doing the things you're supposed to do and do your hobbies and get your routines in place. But over time, these things that we do repeatedly fall into such a monotonous cycle that we feel like we're stuck in an endless loop rather than making a linear progress.

And you just feel like even though you're trying to make the effort to move, you're hardly getting ahead. The pace is slowed down if not dropped to a complete standstill and life begins to feel a little stale to be honest.

When you start seeing these signs in your life, that's when you know you're in need of a break.

And this is not the kind of break where you take a pause from work, go on an adventurous vacation or dive straight into all your exciting hobbies. This is rather a more boring, more real kind of a break and mind you, it involves a lot of downtime.

It involves pausing, reflecting, doing nothing, getting bored, getting real with yourself. And each of us, from time to time, need this.

I call this the life buffer.

A dull, difficult but eye-opening period of time between the life you've been living and the life you want to live.

Let's now answer why we need this buffer and how we can benefit from it:

What the life buffer does:

  1. Breaks your seemingly endless cycle

  2. Allows you to breathe

  3. Gives you the mental space to reset

  4. Allows you to get some distance from your own life

  5. Puts your life into perspective

  6. Gives you a fresh start

Let's look at all of these points one by one.

  1. Breaks your seemingly endless cycle: When you feel like you are stuck in an endless loop, if that loop is not cut off, it feels like it's growing tighter around you. Life can seem a little claustrophobic. This life buffer acts as the breaking point for this loop.

  2. Allows you to breathe: Once you've made the cut in this endless loop, your world can widen again. It feels like coming out into a vast field after being holed up in a small room for days. Imagine that. Wouldn't you feel like filling up your lungs with fresh air? This is what a life buffer can enable.

  3. Gives you the mental space to reset: When we're caught up in the day to day for an extended period of time, our mental space is taken up by all the trivial little details that are a part of our day to day. The brain can feel clogged up eventually. Taking this buffer allows you to clear out that mental space, give it a good dusting and just reset. Imagine how you feel after taking a nice shower after being in the sun and dirt all day.

  4. Allows you to get some distance from your own life: Honestly, living our own lives all the time can be a little exhausting. I have often felt like taking a break from my own life and trying out someone else's. Not because I don't enjoy my own life, I really do. But it's more to do with the occasional change of scenery we all need. Taking a life buffer allows you to get some distance from your own life. Simply putting your life on pause for a while and living a neutral life. It's not yours, neither anyone else's. Its just life.

  5. Puts your life into perspective: Now the thing about getting a little distance is that you get a fresh perspective. When we are so caught up in the day to day, we're in the most zoomed in position we can be. Distance allows us to zoom out, get a fresh perspective, see the bigger picture. This can help us realign ourselves if we catch ourselves going a little off-track.

  6. Gives you a fresh start: Think about how you feel on a new year's day. That is the feeling of a fresh start. It's the feeling of closing a loop and starting anew. This feeling brings along a lot of motivation and willpower with it which is why it is necessary to stock up on this feeling from time to time. Taking a life buffer can help you refill this feeling.

I hope that these 6 ways convinced you atleast a little bit to take a life buffer for yourself. Answering a couple of questions that might pop up in your brain after you've gone through this post.

  1. When should you take a life buffer? Whenever you feel that you're stuck in a rut and life seems to be at a standstill even though you're going about all your usual ways.

  2. How long should this life buffer be? Honestly, as long as you need it to be. Sometimes even a weekend worth of downtime can feel sufficient but it can go up to a a whole week or more. Consider your current lifestyle to figure out how much time you can take away from it for your life buffer.

  3. What should I do in a life buffer? As little as possible. The goal here is do mostly nothing. Atleast in the beginning. When you feel like you've emptied out all your mental space and now you're adequately bored, you'll start getting the urge to get back to life. Use that urge as your fresh start. Reset and reflect. Decide how you want to move forward here onward and then dive back into your life.

I hope you found some takeaways from this blog. If you did, feel free to share this post with your friends and family. Let's normalise doing nothing every once in a while!

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