by Susan Murphy
How many days a week do you jump out of bed and hit the ground running, motor through the day and then collapse into bed at night? Does that sound pretty typical to you? I think a lot of us are in the same boat. The truth is, we ARE running, continuously. Add to that the always-on, connected lifestyle most of us have these days and soon we are lacking proper rest, diet and overall health.
The truth is, we need more downtime. That can seem a tall order when time itself is at a premium. But if we don’t find ways to carve more rest time in our days, we run the risk of losing much more than just a little shut eye. So how do we find the time for downtime? Here are a few ideas.
In some countries, taking a mid-afternoon break is not only culturally acceptable, but it’s been proven to make people more productive.
While napping at your desk might not be ideal, even taking a mental siesta can be beneficial. Mid-afternoon, instead of grabbing another coffee or getting a sugar fix to keep you going, try just leaning back in your chair and closing your eyes for a few minutes. Concentrate on your breathing. Or, take a 5 minute walk, not checking your phone, but focusing on your breath. You’ll find that by making this a part of your routine you’ll have that extra push you need to keep going for the rest of the afternoon.
Of course, if you work from home, it might be easier to get that 5-10 minutes of shut-eye midday, and I highly recommend trying it!
I don’t actually believe that complete digital detoxes are that effective. In fact, I think people run the risk of becoming MORE stressed when they shut off their devices for extended periods of time, because when they turn their devices back on, they’ve got so many messages and potential fires to put out that they jump right back into the busy-ness.
Instead, try shutting off your devices for shorter periods each day. I use the do not disturb function on my iphone to shut off all notifications (except from my parents and husband) after 8pm, and they don’t turn on again till 7am. That way, I can have much needed downtime without being out of touch for so long that I’ll be stressed.
While there might be a shortage of downtime these days, we can combat the detrimental side effects by putting a couple of good habits into practice. Good luck!