I love this time of year, but it definitely gets hectic.
I would like you to think about resolving to include more downtime in your life, including what downtime looks like for you, what are some great ideas for downtime, how to schedule downtime, and why is it so important.
If you experience pain and tension around your temple area, headaches, upper back pain and discomfort and neck pain and stiffness then downtime needs to be part of your regimen.
According to the Scientific American magazine, Americans and their brains are preoccupied with work much of the time. Throughout history people have intuited that such puritanical devotion to perpetual busyness does not in fact translate to greater productivity and is not particularly healthy.
What if the brain requires substantial downtime to remain industrious and generate its most innovative ideas? “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets,” essayist Tim Kreider wrote in The New York Times. “The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”
Downtime has been shown to replenish the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieving our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life. A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future moments of her spite may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order and maintain a sense of self.
While walking through Barnes & Noble recently, I came across a book called “The Art of Doing Nothing”. Think about that for a moment…what is the art of doing nothing?
The technical definition of downtime refers to when “the system is unavailable”. My first thought is our culture, we have so much technology around us between iPads, mobile phones, and computers.
So, let me encourage you to schedule a day or even several hours of technology detox. A period of time when you are just not available technologically, combine this with something that is planned and organized to decompress your mind, body and spirit.
Here are a few examples; playing with or petting the dog, taking a bubble bath, reading a good book curled up in a cushy chair with a down comforter, writing poetry, or listening to soothing music with your earplugs. How about one of my favorites, sitting in a lawn chair staring up at the full moon for an hour or two on a clear summer night?
How do you schedule downtime?
It is simply a matter of looking at your schedule ahead for the next 6 to 7 days looking at where you can block out 30 minutes or an hour.
Many average folks steal the time after the kids have gone to bed decreasing the amount of hours asleep yet, utilizing the time for themselves. Although this is somewhat effective, it’s not recommended, therefore spending time scheduling a down time in your schedule will not only send a message to your children to cultivate that time for themselves and develop a very good lifelong habit, but will also benefit you on multiple levels of being a better parent, being a better spouse, being a better friend and overall being very productive and purposeful in your life.
An ideal situation would be one hour per day. So I encourage you to look at your schedule to look at your week, month and year ahead to look at your day and give yourself that one hour.
Let us know how you choose to spend your downtime.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have or to discuss this topic and your best health further at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be Your Best Health,
Dr. Sage Campione
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