The Importance of Zoning Out

How many days a week do you end up getting into bed feeling like you haven’t had a minute to relax? I know – the shit never ends! And when you do have free time it can often feel like you’re “wasting” it if you aren’t doing anything productive. Just like we make time to get to important meetings, go grocery shopping, and hit the gym, we also have to make time to zone out and for good reason.

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I’m super guilty of never sitting down. I’m the one who will get up during the middle of a movie with my husband to start washing dishes or tidy up the living room. I can’t sit still some days because there is always more to do and it should get done. I always think “I’ll be happy when this place is cleaner” but the truth is that no matter how much cleaning and organizing gets done, I’m NOT going to be able to relax or be happy unless I make time to be. Thought provoking, isn’t it?

We’ve all had those thoughts of

I’ll be happy when…

GET RID OF THOSE. And start being happy now, focusing in on the moment, being mindful and living your life AS it happens. Just like we all need to love our bodies throughout all of our progress and ups and downs, it’s also important to focus on being happy in the moment.

So why is zoning out in important and what is zoning out exactly?

I’m talking about those moments whether its 10, 20, 45 minutes or even 3 hours if you can make the time where you just aren’t doing much of anything. Time to sit down, lay down, throw on some house pants, and not give a fuck. This doesn’t mean I’m encouraging drinking beer and lying in front of the TV, but then again, maybe I am. What is wrong with that?! Mental sanity and happiness is just as important as physical well-being and if you feel well rested and taken care of all around, you’ll be more likely to hit the gym and make the healthy food choices on those harder days.

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Zoning out allows your mind to take a break. I will often ask my husband “what are you thinking about?” and he’ll say “nothing.” This boggles my mind. The thing is, I actually believe him. I think men might actually have the ability to zone out enough to not be thinking about 10,000 things at one time. I, on the other hand, CANNOT turn off my brain like that. If there is something to think about, I’ll think about it, analyze it, destroy it, make it worse, etc. This is something I’ve been trying to work on for years.

Practicing the ability to just observe thoughts, recognize them, and not automatically accept them as a fact has been a major savior in my life. Often times when I’m overwhelmed or anxious I’ll take a minute to just listen to my mind go off in crazy directions, almost like a frantic friend venting about their day. I’ll listen without judgement, then I’ll just observe them and let them fly over my head. From there you can pick out the ones that truly are solid realizations and toss the others that were merely freak outs or stepping-stones of thoughts to get you to a more logical and understandable place. I’m not saying feelings don’t matter but being able to observe them before reacting is truly liberating.

Start off by making time, even just 10 minutes a day to sit down and zone out. Go into a quiet space, lay down on the bed, stare at the ceiling, watch an episode of your favorite reality show and don’t feel guilty about it. Play Plants vs. Zombies on your phone for 20 minutes, read a magazine, do SOMETHING where you’re zoned out enough that your mind gets a break from the chaos of the day.

These moments of self-indulgence will pay off in the form of better sleep, being more in-tune with your own needs and wants, having the ability to start relaxing on cue, and not feeling resentful of other people or errands throughout the day. When you make time for you, the world has to make time for you. Set yourself as a top priority, you’re the only one that will.

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