This summer was one of the best of my life. We were lucky enough to travel almost every week, and when we were home, our weekends were packed full of plans and projects. It was a non-stop blur of activity. Last weekend was the first I’ve had with only a few plans in literally months, and it blew my mind. I woke up on Monday morning feeling so much more relaxed, refreshed and, well…normal.
Like many of you, I get terrible FOMO when I see my friends or other people out at dinners in the West Village or apple picking in the country or pretty much doing anything fun. My mind immediately goes to a place of panic, thinking that I need to get out and do something exciting. I’ve been known to scramble for last-minute plans just to avoid this feeling with an added bonus of making my Instagram feed more exciting. Shameful and so embarrassing… I know!
Maybe it’s because I’m 30 and finally getting a little wiser, or maybe I’m just burnt out from the summer of insanity, but I have a serious craving for downtime lately. Time with no plans, no where to go, no one to meet, knowing that it’s ok. It’s ok to read a book for three hours or go for a walk with no real direction. So here are my thoughts on downtime and what I’ve learned about it in the last few years.
1. The importance of making time for downtime. I am a big fan of saying that I hate relaxing which really tends to piss off certain people (aka my husband). It’s taken me years to realize that relaxing isn’t “doing nothing”. It’s resetting my systems and letting my brain unwind, a rare luxury in this fast-paced world.
2. Put it in your schedule. If you’re like me, and relaxation doesn’t come naturally to you schedule an hour or half-day (or, if you’re feeling really crazy, a FULL DAY) in your actual calendar for this personal time. Since we’re all glued to our phones and iCals, this will make it feel more “normal” for even the busiest of busy bees. You might be tempted to skip it when the alert pops up but try to remember how much better you’ll feel and how much more productive you’ll be if you actually do it!
3. Make it count. When I have a few free hours on a Saturday, I get excited because I can fill them with productive things like blogging, photo shoots, cleaning, or running errands. None of those things count as downtime, people! Use the time to truly unwind, disconnect, and reset your physical and emotional bodies. Some of my personal favorite activities to do during this time are: reading, watching your favorite movie, chatting with an old friend on the phone, grabbing a tea (or green juice) with a pal, or sitting in the sunshine with a glass of wine and a magazine.
4. Even the tiniest bit helps! If you’re truly someone who is “doing it all”, and an hour of relaxation is not in the books, that’s ok! Put 10 minutes in your work calendar to get up and take a walk around the block. This will do wonders for your productivity… and your eyes that have most likely been staring at a screen for hours.
How do you take downtime? What do you do with that time? I’d love to know!