Could you do nothing for 30 minutes day?

Right Brain Workout / Silver Lining

That’s what two admen from Melbourne are asking stressed out Australians.

The Do Nothing Challenge is the brainchild of Alex Wadelton and Jonny Clow (co-founders of not-for-profit advertising agency Silver Lining) who are encouraging Australians to spend thirty minutes a day doing “nothing”. The challenge runs for the whole of November with all funds raised going to Smiling Mind, ReachOut, and Orygen.

Alex and Jonny both have more than twenty years of experience in the high-pressure worlds of advertising and marketing. A pressure that can lead to many mental health challenges. Alex has experienced on-going mental health issues since his teenage years and has tried many different techniques to manage this over the years.

Says Alex, “There are so many amazing charity fundraisers that encourage you to do more push-ups, feel the burn with squats, run farther, cycle longer, and so on. But there wasn’t one that focuses solely on slowing down and taking time out. That’s why The Do Nothing Challenge is so timely. By “doing nothing” we mean you could spend thirty minutes a day simply sitting still and breathing, meditating with the Smiling Mind app, practicing gratitude, embracing mindfulness, watching the leaves sway on a tree, or anything that allows the mind to slow down and relax… away from the pressures of everyday life. You can literally do nothing to do something for mental health.”

Smiling Mind’s annual check-in on mental health and wellbeing, the ‘State of Mind’ survey, details a nation in distress with 78% of Australians experiencing poor mental health over the past year. We are a nation that is tired, worn out, over-stretched, under-supported, and unsure of what is going to come next.

The survey finds 41% of parents believe the pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental wellbeing of their children. 43% of young Australians (18-25) also indicating declining mental health as a result of the pandemic. While almost nine in ten parents (87%) agreed that their child’s mental health was equally as important as their physical health. Fewer felt confident in addressing their children’s mental health needs (64%) and even less found it easy to access resources (52%).

But there has been a silver lining.

The pandemic has encouraged many of us to start proactively looking after our mental health. The report showed that 81% of Australian adults had used at least one strategy to look after their mental health. Those who had developed good skills for looking after their mental health recorded a higher wellbeing score than the general population (7.1 vs 5.7).

It seems the problem is worsening in rural areas too. ReachOut’s recent report, ‘Supported, Educated and Understood’, found an increase in probable serious mental illness among rural young people (from 20.9% in 2017 to 27% in 2021, with a peak of 37% of 18–19 year-olds). With these challenges, and the concerns about employment prospects and educational opportunities in rural Australia, the report also found an increase in the proportion of rural young people stressed about the future (from 15.2% in 2017 to 33.3% in 2021).

Says Jonny, “We are both parents, so time during lockdown has been super stressful for everyone. I know friends and colleagues who have struggled to get physical counselling for mental health challenges within their families. Many mental health organisations are managing an extra high demand for their services with a suspected 30% surge in mental ill health, according to Orygen. Home working and schooling routines are creating burnout amongst employees, who are often robbed of lunchtimes and moments of pre-lockdown downtime, like travel. We know workplaces are looking for new ways to build team morale. They are also committed to support their employees’ mental health wellbeing. That’s why a designated thirty minute slot of decompression – a daily dose of “nothing”, is a great solution.”

Australians can join in with The Do Nothing Challenge on their own, as a team, as a family, or as a workplace, by visiting

/Public Release.