Rest. Recovery is part of the process of getting stronger.
Being a diligent student or a working professional, can make giving yourself regular idle time to switch off a real challenge.
And if you feel guilty about it, perhaps you haven’t experienced the connection between reaching peak performance/balanced health and downtime. This means there’s an abundant opportunity to learn more about what makes you tick and what is essential for growth. Efficiency can also be measured in the way of your happiness, positive energy, level of creativity, or the discipline you show towards the responsibilities you have to tend to, etc.
Hint: giving yourself proper relaxation time has a lot to do with being your best self.
The art of switching off
Finding pockets of quiet time regularly can be quite the challenge. Especially when you have multiple responsibilities to juggle. As mentioned previously, it’s fairly easy to feel guilty for placing your own need to relax front-and-centre. It could be that there are personal and professional obligations that depend on your showing up everyday.
Or it could as well be your mind (and a sprinkle of societal norms) at play, convincing you that in order to grow and have a solid purpose in life, you need to go full-throttle nonstop. Nonetheless, it’s important to constantly remind yourself that showing up and working hard doesn’t exist without the habit of recharging.
In sport and fitness circles – as in other parts of life – it’s widely known that taking regular breaks allows the body to recover and repair. Recovery is an essential part of the success that you’re pursuing, irrespective of fitness level or kind of sport.
That’s the reason there’s inherent value in knowing when to set down the tools and activate your play mode.
Why should I?
It offers a sobering perspective to know that even machines need constant servicing to function well. And that being human, it’s natural to need a break. It’s about time we begin making relaxation and mindfulness a staple of our hectic lives.
Without sufficient downtime, the body and the mind are most likely to be lagging almost all the time. At this point, it becomes difficult to muster any motivation to apply diligence to your work and personal life for a sustained period of time.
Sure, there is a need to apply relentless effort in your studies and work to see any traction, however your body cannot sustain it forever. Actually, piling on extra work may result in a less productive lifestyle. For example: eating fast foods more regularly as a result of not having enough time for food preparation.
Prioritising your recreation by scheduling time to unplug is one of the surefire ways to create a balanced lifestyle. Of course, it might take a bit of time to get comfortable with taking breaks (and doing sweet fokol), especially at the back of what has been a stressful year. It might even be tempting to want to regain back the lost time by throwing in more work into your schedule.
However, you can make your downtime the occasions during which you connect with your family and friends, acquire a new skill or hobby, enjoy meaningful ME-moments, and more. The great thing is, downtime moments are anything you want them to be.
In the quest to rejuvenate, you could:
- Take a trip.
- Get more sleep.
- Focus on your fitness or play sport.
- Go dancing/connect with loved ones.
- Kick start that project you’ve had written down in your notes.
- Write. When you find yourself in need of clarity, you can use writing as a form of therapy. Your notes will add perspective and be beneficial when it’s time to reflect back.
These pockets of emptiness and peace in your mind that come from leisure have a great effect on your brain.
- Your mind gets sharper and retains information better when it’s allowed the time to cool off, translate/decode what you learn, and then repeat that process.
- Taking breaks in-between consuming new information helps your brain analyze and store.
- Relaxing the mind helps with bolstering our creativity and problem solving abilities.
- You get to manage your stress levels more effectively and keep anxiety or other mental health battles at arms’ length.
Or you could also simply look at it this way: placing importance on your leisure is the very act of defending your time – defending yourself. And no one deserves it more!