When someone asks you how you’ve been, how do you normally respond?

“Good.”

“Okay.”

It’s usually one word, right? Short. Sweet. An answer that doesn’t lend itself to conversation.

As of late, my one word has been “busy.”

“How are you?”

“Busy.”

It’s such a negative word, busy. It’s a sentiment we as humans know all-too-well. We’ve been busy since the Stone Age, inventing, creating, occupying, conquering. We are bred to be busy, or at least that’s what we’ve been led to think. Besides, who wants to be bored?

But lately, I’ve found myself making excuses because “I’m too busy,” and there’s nothing I hate more than an excuse-maker.

When did we become too busy to play, too busy to take one, just one, of the 24 hours allotted in a day to do something completely and wholly for ourselves? While we slave behind screens, precious hours of bluebird skies and cool mountain breezes are squandered.

By the end of September, I’d had enough of being busy. I tried yoga, podcasts on time management, baking (which normally solves all problems). I went paddling and climbing and did all of the things that normally make me tune out of “to-do” and tune in to the present, yet still I felt mentally weary.

Days passed before I finally grabbed my Crazy Creek chair and headed toward the mountains in search of quiet. I was agitated, spent, the corners of my jaw sore from being clenched shut. Yet when I reached a rock outcropping and sat above the valley floor watching a lone crow drift through the currents, I felt a heavy weight release from my shoulders. It was as if the “to-do” lists piling in the recesses of my brain had been swept clean by the breeze.

And it was all because I did nothing.

So make time for nothing in your life. Make time to clear your schedule, if only for 15 minutes, and just #sitthere. Some people call it meditation. I’m just going to call it a break. Your brain needs one, and so do you.

Keep up with Jess’ Live Outside and Play adventures here, and be on the lookout for her this weekend at The Festy Experience in Nelson County, Virginia and the Roanoke Go Fest Oct. 16-18.