It’s okay to do Nothing!

Written by Lisa Pallavi Barbora

Lisa Pallavi Barbora is a Senior Consultant for Content at WFAN. Lisa is also a founder of MoneyPuzzle.in In her earlier avatar, she was a National Writer and Consultant for HT Mint - a premier business journal in India.

May 7, 2020

Have you heard of the term ‘Mind Fog’? Unlike brain fog which is a more technical medical term for memory and sharpness related issues, mind fog can be brought now by something as simple as feeling unsettled.

Many of us are probably feeling unsettled today. We wake up in the morning, have our tea or coffee, get dressed and begin the same routine from yesterday. We cook, we clean, we eat, we cook again, clean the dishes, eat, cook, clean and sleep. It is very little in the form of fun, entertainment, emotional or even intellectual stimulation in our daily lives. It’s a routine that embedded itself over the last two months and we don’t know how much longer we will have to continue this without a break in the monotony.

If a set unwavering daily routine isn’t a cause for despair, then not knowing when it will change can certainly send our minds reeling. This subconscious anxiety about an unknown tomorrow, which all of us are collectively experiencing can cause a ‘Mind Fog’.

Are you having a ‘Mind Fog’?

It’s where your brain knows what it needs to do, but is unable to make your body do it. Be it trying to tidy up after your children for the tenth time in a day or decide yet another mealtime menu or getting down to finishing all that pending office work from the only undisturbed corner in your house which you’ve been using for the last two months. If you’re finding it hard to be motivated to do the most basic daily activities or inspired to deliver at work, you’re not alone. Many of us are facing this ‘Mind Fog’ not just because of a routine that perhaps has been forced upon us, but also because, there is no solution and no way to break that routine. Add to that the fear of catching this COVID 19 infection which doesn’t have a documented cure and the anxiety of not knowing when the world will be free of the virus and back to normal.

When will we be able to travel again? When will we see our family and friends in person? When will we be able to roam the streets and indulge in some late-night ice cream treats? When will we be able to move around even in our own societies without a face mask?

So many reasons to feel rattled and restless. A mind fog is only inevitable.

Getting beyond it

How can you break this lack of clarity and uninspired thoughts that you may be experiencing right now? Firstly, you have to consciously admit to yourself that everything is not okay, its not normal. When things are not normal, it means they are disorderly and unusual. When this state of existence, in a disorderly manner continues for too long, it is NORMAL to feel uninspired. Acknowledge and then forgive yourself for feeling lost, stuck and in a mind fog.

Once you’ve done that, embrace the second step which is to do NOTHING. Yes, just do nothing. For one day, let your family eat instant food and junk instead of the healthy meal you always endeavour to feed them. For one day, let your spouse spend time in another corner of the house, away from you. For one day, let your children run amok. For one day, just sit and read, watch TV, eat junk and forget about your daily yoga stretches. Just do nothing. If you need to then do this for another day.

Two days of nothing can snap you back into action. Lastly, when you restart your ‘normal’ routine, find those subtle changes every day that will keep you entertained. Sometimes involve another person from the family in cooking or cleaning. Try your hand at a homemade dessert and send it to your neighbour. Or stitch your own cloth masks. In the middle of it all, breakaway and play a quick board game or PS4 game. Take breaks. You’re not battery operated. You need to stop, refresh and reboot even during the day. Sit down and call your best friend or your mom. Keep the music going in the background. Change it up.

We all need constant motivation and inspiration in our lives, reach out to a fellow human being and ask them how they are feeling today.

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End Note:

Just as you would in your daily lives, do nothing right now to fix that mind fog, do nothing in your money lives too. There are a lot of changes happening in our money lives, many of which are beyond our control. Job losses, pay cuts, lower investment returns, everything is going wrong and this itself can be a big cause for anxiety. Top that with equity and bond market volatility, and things can get quite unsettling.

But for now, do nothing with your portfolio and your investment routine. Keep the regular investments going and don’t keep checking your portfolio value. No one knows where we are headed, making decisions based on anxious reactions is not advisable. Unless you have an urgent need for funds, don’t touch your long-term investments and keep going with the plan you have put in place.

This is really the time to do less, not more.

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