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Idle Time & Burn Out

The Dutch call it ‘niksen’ which is a term to describe doing nothing. In other words, not worrying about being productive, or eating healthy, or meditating, basically embracing boredom.  I love this idea, for now, and think there is a positive take away from this ‘niksen’ idea.

Recently, I have been experiencing work burnout, gym burnout, writing burnout, cooking burnout, praying burnout, burnout on keeping up with my friendships, all of it, and I’ve decided it’s ok and can lead to results if I just let it be.  I think the worst thing I can do is stress about it so, the alternative is to go along with it and not worry about this temporarily mental shift. I say temporary cause experiencing idle time is new to me but, it doesn’t make sense to beat myself up over it so, I’m just going to let this phase be and know that it shall pass.

So how did I get here? I think the burnout started with work, then bled into all other aspects of my life. I found myself struggling at my job. I am expected to help people, to listen, to provide psych education, to link people struggling with mental health issues to resources, to participate in staff meetings and, for the first time in three years doing work as a family advocate, I just don’t wanna deal. It’s not that I don’t care, I just don’t care for now.

I have been to the gym twice in the past two weeks and I can’t remember any time in my life that I have been so lackidasical and know I am going to wake up fat so will be forced to return to my workout regime but for now, I don’t care.

Meditating or praying as I call it, nope. Too much of an effort, and if my hearts not in it then what’s the point.

Calling friends and carving out time to see my loved ones, no thanks. If I’m not going to be present then what’s the point. Am I going to lose my friends? No. They’ll just suffer awhile without me, and when I come back maybe they’ll appreciate me more as will I appreciate them.

So, instead of putting myself through the pain of being stale, I’m going to take this time to explore the ramifications of idle time. I read that the conscious mind absorbing idle time can lead to creative endeavors which is exactly what I need so hopefully this little experiment shall be fruitful in the end, and I will be able to get back to the book I was working on. I will be able to get back to appreciating the work that I do. I will be able to rekindle relationships in my life but, none of that will happen if I fight the fact that my mind heart and soul is seeking nothingness. Yet, ironically, boredom has always been my biggest fear. I get trapped in my mind when I experience boredom, and loath it but maybe it’s something to just let be. On the flip side, I could take a vacation and time off but even that is a task the requires action, planning, traveling, which is the antithesis of embracing ‘niksen.’ This might sound like lazy but I really don’t need to get a pedicure. I don’t need to exfoliate my face. I don’t need to keep up with social media. I don’t need to scrub my floors all the time. I don’t need to do squat.

So what am I going to do with my idle time? Nothing! I’ll rid myself of guilt, and ride this wave. And, if you’re in a rut, or experiencing this form of nothingness it’s ok. In a world where there is so much pressure to do, do, do and go, go, go maybe we should take a moment to realize we are human beings, not human doers. So maybe it’s ok to just be, sense that is our essence.

‘Niksen’ is considered a form of art so, nothingness isn’t necessarily a bad thing, for now.

Idle Time & Burn Out

Erica Loberg

Erica Loberg was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She attended Columbia University in New York and graduated with a BA in English. She is a published poet and author of Inside the Insane, Screaming at the Void, What Men Should Know About Women, What Women Should Know About Men, Diamonds From The Rough and Undressed.

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APA Reference
Loberg, E. (2019). Idle Time & Burn Out. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 May 2019
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