The Importance Of Down Time For You
Tell me, when was the last time you had the chance to sit down and rest, to take a breather and think about nothing? I bet you can’t even remember the last time you didn’t have to do something.
Modern adults (especially parents) live life at a frenzied pace. There is always a massive to do list and many things to juggle. That doesn’t leave much time to recharge your batteries. So often we don’t. We just keep pushing ourselves and pushing ourselves until we collapse into bed (much later than we should) and fall asleep from exhaustion.
When you see it written down in front of you like that, it seems quite confronting. But that is the life that so many of us lead. We don’t take the time to prioritise ourselves and allow our mind and body the down time that it truly needs.
So here is why you need to prioritise down time and how you can do that!
The Importance Of Down Time
Down time is incredibly important for your brain and also your mental wellbeing. If you do not give yourself time to rest and recuperate then you run the very real risk of burning out. You cannot pour from an empty cup, so revitalise your energy by giving yourself time to rest. You will find that after your down time you will have more energy, be more productive and be overflowing with creativity.
There are three kinds of downtime that you should incorporate into your routine…
There is nothing better for you than a night of solid sleep. It allows your mind to reset, your body to heal from the stresses of the day and your muscles to rebuild. You should aim for 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep each night. Work backwards from when you need to be awake (or when your kids wake you), to set yourself a bedtime. And stick to it!
Getting out of your regular routine gives you the chance to recharge and re-evaluate the way that you do things. A change of scene and a change of pace will do you the world of good. Plus you get to see new things, eat amazing food and spend time connecting with yourself and your family. You can come back ready to hit the ground running and with some tweaks to your routine.
3: Regular Breaks
This is probably the hardest form of down time to achieve because you need to fit it into your busy schedule. Your brain needs several short periods of down time each day. You can achieve these by focusing on your breathing, doing a short meditation, journaling, a walk in nature, a workout or game of sport, or even just having a coffee on the deck. Sounds easy enough right? Until you get busy. But really do prioritise these short breaks, your body will thank you for it.
Five Great Ideas For Forcing Down Time
Often we manage to fit down time in for a short while, but when we get busy and need it the most, that is when things start to slip. So here are five great ideas for fitting it in…
1: Take A Whole Day
Once a month, put aside the guilt and take a whole day for yourself. Go and do exactly what you want to do. Indulge yourself for the day and don’t think about anyone else’s worries. This one day a month will do wonders for your wellbeing.
2: Just Say No
Learn the art of saying no to things that add unnecessary stress and pressure to your life. Say yes to the things that fulfill you and make you happy, but say no to the things that don’t.
3: Pick Up A New Hobby
Learn to play an instrument, pick up sewing or handcraft, join a sports team, explore your family tree, take up a new language, or anything else that will light a fire in you. The important thing is not what you do, but that you take the time to do something for you.
4: Ask For Alone Time
Kick everyone else out of the house for a morning, or even the day. Take solace in the solitude you have in your own fortress. Relish the silence and don’t worry about the washing up!
5: Take Time With Your Partner
Sometimes we tend to forget that we have a partner. With work and family, it can feel like ships passing in the night, or a wrestling tag team effort. Prioritise time to be a couple. Even if it is just a picnic dinner on the lounge floor, a movie night, or a weekend away. Connect as humans and adults.
Down time is so important for the body and mind. Make sure you prioritise some time for you so that you can refill your cup and replace your energy stores.
- Wendy Fleisher