Are you listening to music as you read this article? Is the TV on? For just a moment, I want you to turn everything off and just sit in silence. Do you feel at peace, or are you itching to do something, anything to put an end to the boredom? With almost constant access to endless streams of information and entertainment, our attention spans are decreasing dramatically. Despite our emphasis on the importance of rest and relaxation, humanity has become increasingly unsatisfied with sitting in still silence. For some, it’s the case of the typical workaholic. For others, it’s a fear of being alone with the demons in their mind. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to be able to disconnect and spend some time living in the lull.
It’s a hard concept to employ and one that I struggle with all the time. This summer, I worked as a media specialist at a summer camp in the Poconos. It was a job during which I barely had time to sleep from Sunday to Friday, much less sit in silence and process my day. Now that I’m back home, I have all the time in the world but struggle with a lack of motivation. I feel like I always need to do something and am failing because I haven’t seamlessly transitioned back into a new job and gotten straight to work. So I immerse myself in other things, whether it be entertainment or attempting to work on side projects and various homework to little success. The truth is, if I took a step back and took a break from trying to always keep myself entertained, I would be much better off. Despite the initial stress of deadlines and feeling like you can’t afford to take a break, setting aside fifteen minutes to a half an hour to relax and reset your mindset can do wonders for your productivity.
With so many different things vying for our attention, sometimes extricating ourselves from all distractions is the best thing to do to maintain our sanity. If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or numb, I encourage you to take a step back from your work for a few minutes and just sit in the stillness. Try writing in a journal during this down time for some serious introspection. Take some time to really look at our surroundings and try to spot small beautiful details that you miss in your day-to-day life. If you’re really concerned about getting work done and you don’t need internet access to be completed, spend some time with your devices shut off or on airplane mode. Turning off your devices will help you resist the urge to open new tabs and look up things that will lead to you becoming distracted in a black hole of YouTube videos, social media feeds, and random webpages. We are so quick to pass through the valleys in our lives on our way to climb the next mountain. But sometimes you just need to sit down in the lull of your life and just breathe.