As adults I don’t think we do enough dawdling, most things that I do are within a time frame and are generally required to be done quickly so that I can get on to the next task. So this week I have been concentrating on dawdling and think that it will be incorporated into my routine for the future. Usually my dawdling would be done in woods, they are an ideal place to dawdle, offering privacy and are full of things to stop and look at.
This week however I also decided to go and dawdle in central London. In normal circumstances I work in London, just off Trafalgar Square, and so normally my trips to that area are far from a dawdling experience. I was curious to go and have a dawdle though, to experience it all in a different light, without people or traffic. I went early, masked and sanitised on an empty train and had a bit of dawdle about Buckingham Palace, The Mall, The Strand and the footbridge back to Waterloo Station. Dawdling isn’t a hike, it’s a wander, so I didn’t aim to cover too much ground. The emptiness was both strange and wonderful. The air smelled clear and I noticed details I have never seen before like this stunning, dramatic statue in Trafalgar Square.
To describe dawdling I have in mind this image of a small child carefully investigating a muddy puddle with a stick whilst their patient parent waits for them to catch up, you might also consider it under the titles of ‘mindfulness’, ‘me time’ or even ‘forest bathing’, I feel that they are all kindred spirits.
On my forest dawdles I stop smell flowers and feel the softness of newly grown leaves, I find convenient tree roots to test my balance on or do some heel raises. I stretch my arms up and breathe. Sometimes I walk very slowly or just stop and look at the trees. I did think that looking at your phone was a kind of anti-dawdling practice but have concluded that if there is some small task that you want to do just for yourself or to look up some vital fact that fuels your daydreams then go for it.
Dawdling can still be done in a time frame, its about your state of mind. It feels like a little treat to yourself and I have found it calming and restorative. A lesson to take forward to the busy days and times ahead.
It’s free and can be done anywhere, urban or rural and requires no equipment. Enter the marvellous mindset that is dawdling!