I often hear friends and clients describing their down time as ‘doing nothing’, and truly, we couldn’t be more wrong. In a society which values being busy, our down time is often disregarded. If we’re not at work, the gym, working on our side hustle, or something else really valued, we disregard it. And when we’re prone to disregarding something, we’re not acknowledging its role and value in our lives, which often leads into guilt around these activities.
Let’s start referring to our down time as REST.
We don’t even need to change what you spend this time doing. A great place to start is even just identifying the activities we did during your down time. Did you watch tv? Cool. Take a bath? Awesome. Lay on the couch? Great. It’s something, and it’s something our bodies and minds need. Let’s start acknowledging it for what it is.
If your down time isn’t actually providing you the rest you need, then let’s start another conversation about finding what works for you and starting to prioritize its place in your life. 3 ways to rest well are connection, escape & joy.
Connection – Resting sometimes means being alone, and resting sometimes means being with others. This will largely depend on where you tend to get your energy and the people you’re with. I need a few solid hours every week to be alone and re-charge, and I book this into my calendar as a priority for me. I’m a better human when I get this time.
Escape – Resting sometimes means escapism. If you find yourself often lost in your thoughts, and following the negative spirals, you would probably benefit from a bit of escape. TV can be okay for this, but it tends to not actually engage your brain well enough to stop the thoughts. Reading & board games, and even video games are likely to be a more effective choice.
Joy – True rest means joy. Where do you find joy? Let’s make more time to do this. The things which bring us joy are typically the things which fill our hearts and souls, and keep us moving forward. The more joy we engage in, the more we have to give.
Our down time is sacred, and our bodies and minds need this time to rejuvenate, so similar to your muscles. Ask any athlete – there’s a reason leg day and arm day alternate. Find something which works for your rest, and begin honouring it for the rest it is.
As a Registered Psychologist, I have experience helping people with a variety of concerns including, but not limited to stress, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, parenting, and relationships. Together, we will use cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), and collaborate to find the thoughts and actions creating obstacles in your life, test them out, and combat them to decide if they’re helping or hindering you. Most of all, I want to help you reach your potential, and make the way there a little easier.