How To Waste Your Time

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” – Etty Hillesum

Meditations in Motion

I have a complicated relationship with yoga. It’s an on-again-off-again, love-hate affair.

Right now it’s on-again/love. Sort of.

I used to do Bikram (hot) yoga, then I did Power yoga. Both of these styles of yoga require strength, athleticism, and flexibility. They are a workout.

When I finished a Bikram or Power yoga class, the Savasana, or Corpse Pose, at the end of class was my favorite part, a welcome respite from the torture of holding difficult positions much longer than was comfortable.

Now I am doing Restorative, or Yin yoga, a gentler version involving stretching and meditation. It seems like a better compliment to running.

I am working through a program designed to be a 21-day yoga “streak“. I am not streaking, however. I only do it about three days a week. And I haven’t done it for five days, so maybe my relationship with yoga is drifting toward “off“.

One of the things I love about yoga is the wise, pithy sayings tossed around by the instructors. Stretching my body is good but stretching my mind is even better.

The quote at the beginning of this post was one I have been hanging onto for quite a while. It sounds like something a yoga instructor would say. I think sometimes we don’t take enough deep breaths, much less appreciate the rest between them.

Meditations in MotionI think we don’t waste enough time.

Today, I’m not only going to give you permission to waste time, but I’m also going to suggest you make it a habit.

I have a few modest suggestions to get you started.

Stare out the window

Meditations in MotionThis is what I see when I stare out my back window.

Just beyond the deck and the backyard is a little woodlot. I can’t tell you how much time I have wasted watching the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and groundhogs who live there.

What starts out as nature-watching usually winds up as daydreaming, another very worthwhile time-waster.

I have come up with some of my very best, most creative ideas while daydreaming.

Rub your forehead

Meditations in Motion

Really.

Try this: close your eyes, unclench your jaw, let your tongue fall away from the roof of your mouth, and lightly rub your fingers across your forehead for a minute or so.

Isn’t that heaven?

You have a nerve running from approximately your nose to your scalp across your forehead called the supratrochlear nerve. When you pass your fingers gently over this nerve, it stimulates tension-releasing feel-good hormones to flow.

Well worth wasting a few minutes on each day.

Stay in the car to finish listening to a song

Meditations in Motion

It seems like every time I listen to the radio in the car, the best song comes on just as I shift the transmission into “park“.

I no longer turn off the ignition with regret and hustle off to wherever I am going. I stay in the car to finish listening to the song (or story, if I am listening to NPR).

Then I walk away from the car, feeling upbeat and singing. To myself, of course. I would never subject the random parking-lot population to my horrendous renditions of popular songs.

I have traded regret for, if not exactly elation, something pretty close.

Drink something delicious and smile

Meditations in Motion

This is a “twofer“, as my dad used to say.

Drinking something delicious seems like more of an indulgent treat to me than eating something delicious.

Some of my favorites are chocolate milk, herbal tea, and smoothies.

I make my smoothies, by the way, with four ingredients in the blender – plain full-fat yogurt, some kind of fruit juice, a banana, and some kind of frozen fruit. My juice/fruit combinations could be orange/mango, pineapple/mixed berries, or whatever I have on hand.

The act of smiling induces your brain to release chemicals called neuropeptides, which are stress-busters. Also released are dopamine and serotonin, both of which elevate your mood.

Here is what I want you to do: get a delicious drink, sit in your comfy chair, and sip, smile, repeat.

Your family may think you have finally gone around the bend, or they may wonder what you are up to, but you will feel good, I guarantee it.

Find a way to waste some time today.

I’m giving you permission, even though you don’t need it.

Then take some deep breaths and appreciate the rest between them.

 

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

 

76 comments

  1. I am definitely going to indulge in that forehead massage, Laurie. πŸ™‚ And like you, I don’t count watching the wildlife in our backyard or just watching the leaves stir in the leaves as a waste of time. It is calming and rejuvenating, encouraging me to simply breathe in, breathe out, and be content. Thanks for the inspiration here!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Now, THIS is a program I can wholeheartedly get behind. Seriously, though, I struggle with giving myself permission to waste time, as much as I see the value of taking that sacred pause between “breaths”. So I am grateful for your permission, and for introducing me to my supratrochlear nerve (who knew?). I do like to rub my forehead, but if anybody catches me at it they always want to know what’s wrong; it must make me look worried.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laurie, hi! I so appreciate your invitation to be still, to appreciate the moment, to stop rushing about, to breathe deep.

    I’m finding that the more I choose this kind of deep silence in God’s presence, the quieter my soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for this, Laurie!
    I had been looking forward to buying a milk frother for 2 months. Finally, our shops opened up and I got one first thing on Monday. You wouldn’t believe how I enjoy my hot chai with the frothed milk.
    I savour every moment of it and do it exactly how you describe it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hot chai with frothed milk does sound good! Our son got us a cappuccino machine one year for Christmas. We can make lattes with frothed milk at home now. I love and savor them!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Yes, I realize you don’t really need permission from me to perform self-care tasks. I am still hanging in there with the yoga. I haven’t given up on it yet! πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. Ah I used to love yoga once upon a time. It may be something I can’t do but I can certainly take on board your other tips for wasting time. I love the trees I can see from my garden and spent a good five minutes watching a robin bounce across my fence. Good job my cats were having a nap at the time. #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like to have my early mornings quiet (unfortunately my husband has started to get up earlier & earlier & bleed into my quiet time). We have a large bay window, and I love to look out it as I eat my meals. As the sun rises. I watch the hawks I frequently see out there coasting on the thermals.

    I would argue that time relaxing is not wasted time. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh I most definitely do the “looking out of the back window” down time. Amazing what you see (Also have woods out the back of our house) and it also stretches your eyes. I have to say, I had no idea there were so many yoga choices. I’m guessing there are even more than you listed. I’ve not done yoga since school. I keep meaning to find a good online lesson to follow. #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have a beautiful garden waiting for you out your back window. I would look at that all day if I could! πŸ™‚ There are so many free online yoga classes right now. Lots of choices.

      Like

  8. I love that quote and the advice to waste more time. I have to admit that now that the weather is getting nicer, I can waste a lot of time out in the garden just watching the birds and I often sit and watch the clouds drifting by too. I’ve never tried much yoga although have done some kids yoga a couple of times with Sophie and enjoyed it. #WotW

    Liked by 1 person

    • With 2 little ones, I would imagine you don’t have a lot of time to waste! Time is precious to the mothers of young children. Good for you for doing yoga with Sophie!

      Like

  9. I like your attitude here. I’m good at staring out into our backyard, finding myself lost in the trees, so I’ve nailed that idea. I don’t rub my forehead though. I stay in my car to listen to a song and I reward myself with delicious beverages on occasion. Always room for improvement, but I am doing what I can to not do anything. I hope you approve. 😎

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great quote and wonderful call to waste some time. I love slowing down and just being quiet with my thoughts or staring out the window. I have a tree in front where cardinals hang out It brings joy and I believe that when you waste time, it should bring joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gosh we really should be friends πŸ™‚ I catch myself doing all of these on various days…especially the drinking & smiling. My chai lattes bring me so much joy, and smiling is never a bad thing πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wasting time is a good thing to do – I can look around and see many things to do yet I don’t get them done. Perhaps it is defiant, I don’t know, but I stretch my hours in the day as far as I can and then some. You know how I feel about chocolate milk – also was my reward after a long walk as it was for you after a long run. Now I have the powdered milk with a squirt of Hershey’s until I get back into regular grocery shopping and even then I only have the chocolate milk every so often as a special treat. Reward thyself more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was actually thinking of you when I wrote some of this post, Linda. Not that you WASTE time but the way you spend a lot of your time seems so meditative to me. Walking, feeding your furry and feathered friends, seeing what interesting sights you can see.

      I only have chocolate milk every once in a great while now too. Last night we went for ice cream. That treat will have to hold me for some time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well I do waste a lot of time Laurie and I am the first to admit it. I never consider my time in parks a waste of time, just like you said, because to me it like a balm to sooth the frustrations of the day and now the world. I miss my Park for just tuning it all out and hope they open it up soon. I have to tell you that I’ve been to the Park, on the sly, five times to feed the squirrels. I won’t put this on my blog because I am taking a chance going there, but I likely will get a hand slap and a warning, but I feel a little more confident going there since they took down the caution tape. Last week the firemen were taking it down so it didn’t blow into the Creek. They did a lousy job securing the entire park in my opinion. I said “are you opening it again?” He said, no, just removing the tape – it is still barricaded off, but there are many places to enter the park without parking in the parking lot. I was chitchatting with a guy on Friday who has been riding his bike there every day for two weeks. It is wrong to punish everyone for a few careless people. Told the firemen that too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope they open “your” park soon too. We are starting to see just a little bit of relaxing of the rules. I am ready. I think we can start to go back to some of our regular places, especially if we wear masks, stay 6 feet away from others, and are careful. I am sure your park friends appreciate you sneaking them some treats! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Our Governor remains adamant that we will go slowly, despite the three large organized protests (including one protest with people with Confederate flags, long guns and unmasked that stormed the Capitol Building and death threats to herself and the Attorney General). We have flattened the curve immensely – yesterday we had only 18 deaths and had been having 100 deaths a day and over 1,000 new cases a day and that’s how it was for weeks. She hinted that after our May 28th Order expires, she will allow groups of up to ten to congregate … I’m thinking that might signal a change for “my” Park. I understand that was the bugaboo – people were congregating and not social distancing (and the City has had a high death/case toll as well).

        I know they appreciate it Laurie. The weather has been cold with a hard freeze so no way could they dig up their cache. I helped out a bit ’til they can dig and/or forage. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, there are some crazies in Michigan for sure. We had a dollar store that hired a security guard to ensure people were social distancing and masked up. So three people came in and no mask, so the security guard handed them masks. They said they wouldn’t wear masks and shot him dead. Then we’ve had two cases where people were infected with COVID-19 and spat on people, then said “I’m infected” – in both cases, it was true. The protesters left me SMH. I hope it opens too Laurie.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I read about the security guard incident. What is wrong with people? The stupidity and selfishness I read about in the papers and see on the news is just unbelievable to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree – the world has just gotten crazier by the day. I am set to go out – likely pools of water everywhere out there, but after three days of rain, I’m going to breathe deep and walk, Hopefully my feet don’t get drenched when doing my sneaky maneuvers this a.m. on my mission to feed the hungry.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I did just that today! I said I was going for a run, but I really walked downtown, sat on a park bench, and started at the river and the beautiful landscape!
    I too always think of a “specialty drink” more of an indulgence than a food item!
    Thanks for linking up. I hope you enjoy the weekend! -M

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a perfect way to waste time! Staring at water is one of my favorite things to do! πŸ™‚ Thanks for hosting. You have a good weekend too.

      Like

  14. Man, yoga is awesome. They say it takes one to three months to establish a new habit. Already good that you’re doing it a few times a week. Some people never stretch and well, you see how they turn out down the road. And I’m totally treating myself to a forehead massage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sorry to read you didn’t sleep well, Wendy. I have that issue sometimes too. I hope you had some good “wasted” time sitting in your backyard!

      Like

  15. Great post and love the specific, practical advice. I had a class on conflict transformation that required each student to do 3 fun or relaxing things for themselves each week and report on them each week. nothing like being given permission to have fun to chase away residual guilt! Blessings, Michele

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Laurie, some days I think I waste too much time, which can be worse than not wasting any at all. I am still trying to find balance among the craziness. My idea of indulgence is sipping a glass of wine while floating in the pool with Yanni in my ear buds. I love that forehead technique also.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Dear Laurie,

    As someone who used to teach yoga in her spare time, I just loved this blog of your’s. These days I prefer Yin yoga as it provides a very deep stretch reaching way down into those joints and synovial fluid. I decided to put Restorative to the side because I simply felt I was merely flopping over a bolster with no deep stretch whatsoever. Although Restorativve can be good for one’s nervous system, but I need the extra lubrication around the joints that Yin provides. My sister and I used to take some classes together and we’d go for the Yin – and invariably I would walk out saying, “darn it, that was no Yin, that was restorative” ha ha!

    I wish I could point to the scientific studies I’ve looked at in the past that demonstrated how important day dreaming and staring out the window is to our brain and creative potential. An epidemic of busyness and addiction to our smart devices left day dreaming in the dust…. unless we make a point of recognizing it and allowing it to happen. I have this funny feeling that increased numbers of people are doing it more these
    days πŸ˜‰ It feels good, almost like we are going back to our childhood.

    I’ll end with this story. Many years ago I heard the priest at our local parish say in his sermon that he was meandering through his garden one day, engaged in a meditative walk. A parish secretary came out and quipped “Father, don’t you have anything else better to do?” Ha ha. I love that story… I went up to the priest afterwards and said I understand.

    Thanks for reminding us that doing nothing is really doing something good for ourselves!

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

    • Daydreaming DOES feel good. I was a big daydreamer as a child. I don’t know why I feel guilty when I stare off into space, like I should be getting something accomplished. Anything that brings us joy should be prioritized, especially during these crazy days Great story about the secretary and the priest!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Gardening sounds like a wonderful way to spend some warm sunny days. Hubby and I are sitting outside and watching the birds in the trees behind our house today.

      Like

  18. […] How to Waste Your Time by Laurie Hess of Meditations in Motion hit the spot for me this week.Β  Not only because I speak yoga, but because I have concluded that I don’t ever truly rest.Β  I stink at sabbathing and I want to do better.Β  I NEED to do better for my mental and physical health.Β  Even when I’m watching TV, I’m doing something.Β  Multitasking.Β  Laurie reminded me that my worth does not come from productivity and that being still is a command of God!Β  And she gives some serene sounding ideas to help you chill out.Β  Thanks, Laurie! […]

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s