Room to breathe

Mar 22, 2009 by

Flickr photo by hanssolo

Flickr photo by hanssolo

There are a million ways in which I’m like my mother and list keeps growing every day. The latest one I’ve noticed is my need for quiet time. I’m a lot like my mom in that I’m largely an extrovert; I love to be social and hang out and chat. But sometimes both her and I just need to be alone.

More than just being alone though is the quality of this alone time. In particular: the ability for my mind to be ‘in neutral.’ I love to read and write and watch TV, but all these activities engage my entire brain (or numb it out in the case of TV) and there isn’t room for anything else while I’m engaged in them. But quiet Sunday mornings when I’m cleaning all by myself are something quiet different. I don’t know what it is about cleaning, but somehow it gives my brain room to breathe.

Most of the time, my brain is galloping full speed ahead on multiple trains of thought. That can be very exciting and exhilarating; it can also be exhausting. But when its just me and a broom or a cloth, there are often hour-long stretches where I think about almost nothing at all – and it is glorious!

Being a busy and ambitious young professional doesn’t leave much time for quiet contemplation. Even if there is, I often feel that quiet time must be turned into something productive (like this blog post, natch). But I think its really important to find some time to be alone and do something that actually doesn’t require your full focus to do it. Whether that is cleaning or knitting or just walking around your neighborhood, it will give your brain the time and space it needs to breathe and relax.

Then, when you come back to your productive, driven self, it will be that much easier to work your mind to its fullest potential.

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