Left Brain, Right Brain and The Art of Doing Nothing

In October, the air smells like cardamom and everyone has changed their playlists over to softer sounds. Scenic back road drives look like watercolor paintings, you question your choice of outerwear.

I’ve been neglectful here, it’s just that I’ve been spending my time living off the internet instead of just writing about it. There’s comfort in starting a good movie at midnight, huge pots of chili, and library books I never remember to return on time.

It’s not good enough to seek happiness. We have to revel in what things make us happy when we find them.

left brain right brain

Recently a doctor told me about “left brain clutter” – when all of our obligations and goals and stresses and to-do lists make us so overwhelmed it’s hard to see any of them clearly, or do any of them well. She recommended (dare I say, “prescribed”?) at least 1-2 hours a day of just doing what makes you happy.

No agenda. Just doing the things you like because you like them.

This isn’t a presumption that all of us have the luxury to sit on the couch all day in our pajamas (though, if you can do that one day a week, I say do it unabashedly). Being “busy” doesn’t always mean being productive, and can in fact cloud our creativity. We can confuse busyness with being effective by default.

Explore your library. Take a day trip. Cook one big,  laborious meal and eat it when it’s finished at 11pm. Take the prescription to just enjoy your time without needing an outcome beyond joyfulness. That may be the best medical advice I’ve ever heard.


9 thoughts on “Left Brain, Right Brain and The Art of Doing Nothing

  1. This is just what I need, Jaime K. I have been feeling increasingly overwhelmed and anxiety-ridden with all that I’ve got going on lately and constantly have to remind myself to just take a minute and CHILL OUT! you’re the best!

    • It’s interesting the way we can associate those things with being lazy instead of ways to step back from “work mode” to find inspiration which FUELS our work. How can we do anything well when we don’t have a new perspective or come to resent it? Thanks for coming by 🙂

  2. How interesting that you would write this post when I consciously chose to address more domestic things instead of do my regularly scheduled Sunday routine of ‘catching up’ on work related issues. I’m still feeling a little overwhelmed at facing Monday, but at least I can face my week with all the laundry cleaned, ironed and put away. Oh, and those pesky dustballs of dog hair? no longer a main ingredient in my breakfast oatmeal.

    My own life tends to get out of control when I make myself too available for others, instead of making a little time for me.

    • Funny how the domestic things, the ones we assign less value to, can almost give us a greater sense of accomplishment? “Do work” can comes be so vague, and when are ever done? But doing the laundry? Knocking that pile out is gratifying. And you’re right… less mental clutter. We should sit around at one of our cleaned homes one of these days and chat over coffee.

  3. Also, I think one of the hardest things is that when we get very busy, the first things to suffer are our social lives and sleep schedules. I know personally, without a full night of sleep my day becomes miserable and extremely unproductive, and after several weeks of no social live, the same things happens.

    here’s to sleeping and friends.

    oh and watching the Perks of Being a Wallflower has been making me want to take life a little less seriously.

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