Although I doubt many places of work will be cracking out the bunting for this, today (27 February) is International No-Brainer Day. This just-for-fun ‘holiday’ is devoted entirely to switching your brain onto auto pilot and not making any taxing decisions for a whole 24 hours. Sounds good to us…
The origin of this little-known occasion is unclear; however I imagine the idea stems from society’s need for a break from all the stresses of modern life. Most of us work five days out of seven and we are used to seeing our time as money, and therefore feel guilty about being lazy. However, a percentage of time spent being idle can actually be beneficial to your physical as well as mental health.
Your boss is unlikely to see it this way though, so here are some ways in which you can celebrate this most important of holidays on your own.
Most people see procrastination in a negative light, as it can result in feelings of increased stress because of counter-productivity and feelings of ‘falling behind’ on your duties. However, some procrastination can be beneficial. Putting decisions and actions off for a while can give you time to think things through, allowing you to internalise information and help you put key facts into your long-term memory.
Procrastinating allows you to plan out what things need to be done in what order and gives you time to pluck up the courage to meet new challenges. So don’t stress about the things you’ve been putting off today, concentrate on mulling them over and tackling them head-on tomorrow.
Wallow in Nostalgia
Everyone has their favourite movie that they like to watch over and over again, so this no-brainer day, stick on that DVD, bring out the popcorn and absorb yourself into your favourite story once more. Feelings of reliving the past are seen by some as a cloying, self-defeating waste of time.
However, a study by The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that nostalgic memories elicit a series of benefits to people’s mental wellbeing including a strong sense of social connection to the people around them, improved self-esteem and positive thoughts and the increased awareness of people’s desirable qualities.
Another study looking at people’s relationship with the past showed that nostalgic feelings can even make you feel physically warmer in the cold. The perfect excuse for a cosy night in, if ever I’ve heard one.
Pop some bubble wrap
For those of you who missed this year’s Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, today’s your opportunity to catch up on the mindless yet compulsive fun of popping a sheet of bubble wrap.
In the same way that squeezing a stress relieving toy works, popping bubble wrap can immediately release tension and bring feelings of calm to the popper. In fact, the Sealed Air Corporation conducted a survey and found that just over one minute of popping bubble wrap can deliver the same amount of stress-busting power as a 30 minute massage.
This is because repetitive, mindless tasks act as a sort of meditation, allowing the popper to concentrate on what they’re doing rather than worrying about their problems.
The art of meditation, detaching yourself completely from your thoughts and concentrating solely on your breathing has been a proven stress-buster for thousands of years. Practicing meditation every day, even for as little as 10 minutes, can help increase the flow of blood around your body, helping you lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system and even make you smarter.
However, some people find meditation difficult; it can be hard for them to switch off their thoughts completely, but this is normal. Some dedicate their whole lives to the discipline of meditation, so you’re hardly going to pick it up in a day. Instead, enlist the help of a guided meditation video, sit back and become less encumbered by the stresses of daily life.
Get an early night
Unlike most celebrated days, No-Brainer day is not a time for partying and staying up late. Get an early night and give yourself a healthy dose of the vitamin zzzzs. It is recommended that people get eight hours sleep a night as part of a healthy lifestyle, but tonight, being as it’s a special occasion, treat yourself to an hour or so more.
Run yourself a relaxing bath before bed, or alternatively take a day nap on your sofa. It is thought that napping for a short time in the day, a few days a week, can also improve people’s mood, memory and lower their risk of developing heart disease.
So that’s how I’ll be spending the rest of No-Brainer Day. Why don’t you join me in some my proposed (in)activies? Go on, it’s a real, er, no-brainer.
Featured article image by geezaweezer