The Art of Downtime
Going through life too fast
The amount of information that is at our disposal through modern technology is more than we could have ever imagined even 10 years ago. There is so much stimulation that our brains have yet to evolve in an effective way to handle it all. And with COVID-19, our world has become even more reliant on technology for distance learning, up-to-date news and information, entertainment, and even as a way to stay connected with work, friends, and family. But with all this can come a price — overstimulation.
At what point does it all become too much? If you have noticed yourself feeling a little overwhelmed, tired, or even drained, you might be feeling effects of overstimulation. Being mindful of how much is too much and recognizing when you need to simplify, minimize, and slow down, can reduce that stressors that come with being overstimulated in order to give our bodies and minds some much needed downtime.
Today, a lot of life’s stresses can be contributed to stimulation overload. Creating more balance in your life and enjoying moments of downtime take practice, but the benefits are huge. Taking some downtime and unplugging from technology can help strengthen interpersonal communication, boost your creativity, tighten your focus, and decrease stress. Don’t worry, we have a couple tips to help you master the art of downtime be it from technology or other stimuli:
- Create a tech-free time in your day, every day: You might not realize how much you are in front of a screen throughout the day until you try to plan not to be in front of one (and no, sleeping doesn’t count as time away, but sleep is indeed very important!) Forbes notes that the average adult spends “as much as 12 hours a day in front of TVs and computers.” Start by unplugging for 15 minutes at a designated time each day and work your way up to longer stretches of time. Instead of waking up and reaching for your phone, take a moment to take a deep breath, stretch, and relax. Instead of scrolling through social media as you wait in line, look up, tune into your senses, and observe what is around you.
- Tune out the noise and tune into yourself: Whether you can take 20 minutes or a whole day, giving your mind a break to process all the data that it encounters daily will only help itself to sort through the backlog of ideas, concerns, and thoughts. This daily mind break can help create some room for inspiration and creativity to occur. A mind break can be in the form of a walk, closing your eyes, listening to some music, meditating, or even taking a bath. Think of it as your brain replenishing itself. Provide your mind time to address all those thoughts and feelings that might have been pushed aside from being overstimulated.
- Rest your mind: Ever wonder why some cultures have midday naps weaved into their culture? Try to recall what a toddler looks like and acts like without their midday nap. Scary right? Research has shown how incredibly powerful a midday nap can be for the mind to help sharpen one’s concentration and performance. So, until the United States catches on to the power of the zzz’s like the rest of the world, taking even a little catnap here and there can do wonders! Aim for at least 10 minutes and experience what a well-rested brain and self feels like.
Whatever you choose to do, commit to it. Give yourself some time to really see and feel the benefits. With anything in life, to really master something new, you do need to be diligent about it. Your mind and body deserve it — you deserve it.