The art of doing nothing: basic steps

Today, Feb 24th, is “officially” International Do Nothing Day.  Today we have an official excuse to take a breather, relax, put up our feet and do nothing… Want to know how to do this? 

Some call the art of doing nothing, ‘meditation’.  Essentially it’s about being able to clear your mind, de-stress, relax and recharge your batteries and all it takes is a few minutes each day.

It can be a great help for adults and children with anxiety, focus issues or difficulty sleeping or getting to sleep.

When did you last actually do nothing? I mean, really shut off, turn off all distractions and properly switch off your brain? These days we’re are on the go 24/7 and even when we’re not at school or at work, we’re still surrounded by communication devices, games, distractions and sensory overload to the point when we simply never switch off. This can lead to anxiety, stress, sleep problems, irritability and problems focusing.

The french philosopher, Pascal said that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”.

Phineas and Ferb had it down to an art. So it can’t be that difficult!

The art of doing nothing: basic steps

  1. Make sure all gadgets, TV and radio and any other distractions are off and nowhere near you.
  2. Use Lavender oil for relaxation. Either dab a drop on your temples or use a diffuser, candle or oil burner.
  3. Find a quiet spot – Sit or lie in a quiet room.
  4. Get comfortable – You don’t have to be sitting in the lotus position! You do need to be comfortable in a position you can maintain for a while.  So put cushions under your bottom, head or feet and make sure you are comfy.
  5. Relax your arms and legs, hands and feet. If you’re lying down, your feet will naturally fall outwards and your fingers will curl in slightly.
  6. Breathe in for 4, hold for 4 and breathe out for 4. Ideally breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  7. Keep doing this for a minute or so until your body has relaxed, then just breathe slowly and steadily.
  8. Lie or sit like this for 10-15 minutes until you feel completely relaxed.



Children may find it hard to be still – cushions help. Don’t make them lie if they want to sit.  They may also find it hard to keep their eyes closed. If so, they can focus on something like a spot on the wall, painting or picture, favourite teddy or something inanimate.

Doing this before bedtime, particularly the breathing part, is a great way to relax them and help with sleep.

NB. DO NOT ever practise meditation or relaxation techniques in the bath!  You may fall asleep and drown. 

Post originally written for Wondrous Ink –

Categories Articles & features, Blog Posts, Parenting & Child Care

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