I was asked recently what I you do for down time? Down time? Hmmmm. Where do I start?
If I had been asked that 12 months ago, it certainly would have been a vastly different answer.
Just this week - I have read a book, a fiction novel too. I have played my ukulele more than twice. I sat and ate afternoon tea with my family. We usually have sit down meals everyday of the week, but this was an extra treat. I walked to school with my children. I journaled. Some sketching. Phone calls with friends. I am sure there is more. And all enjoyed immensely.
Down time never existed for me until I realised the to-do list was always going to be there. Plus there was some self sabotage in there too, but that's for another time.
We all know that down time is important. It helps us recharge for the next day. Rest our bodies for the next physical activity. Provides opportunities for connection with others. Improves concentration. Allows self awareness and deeper thinking. Lots of other good stuff. I don’t know about you, but I have in the past definitely convinced myself I didn't need it. And the mental and physical health copped a battering for that way of thinking.
Not only did I think the need for down time didn't apply to me, I believed I needed to cross off all the to-do’s on the list to ‘earn’ that down time too. But when I crossed one thing off, another one (or two) would appear. Well - you know how this ends. A perpetual list of to-do’s to be-done.
My ah-ha moment was recognising that the to-do list will always be there.
In all reality I was never going to cross off all the items EVER. That list was going to keep going and going and going. I was never going to earn that down time.
How did I find the balance of the two? It was actually quite simple in hindsight. I picked the three most time sensitive or important items from my to-do list each night for the following day. I smash them out first up and the rest of the day is whatever I choose to make of it. Down time or not. I am the only person accountable if I decide to keep on with the tasks past my three to-do items of the day. I have no one else to blame except myself.
Do you know what? I was getting so high on the endorphins from feeling like I was getting stuff done, sometimes I did more than my three tasks. Go me!!!
I still need to consciously remember that the list is forever growing, and it will be there no matter what. But right now... I'm off to play some uke… what are you doing next?
ps: I've got another great tool for finding balance in this unbalanced world. Click here for my gift to you – a free life planner – you can thank me later 😉
pps: Lost for ideas on what to do now you've carved out some down time? Try these:
- Go to the park
- Take a walk
- Listen or play some music
- Read a book or magazine
- Watch a film or favourite TV show
- Take a relaxing bath
- Do something creative (write, draw, cook, sew)
- Gratitude practice
- Have a coffee in your garden
- Pamper yourself
- Get creative in the kitchen
- get out of doors
Copyright Natasha Loohuys 2023