I often speak about the need for “down time”. As a result, I was surprised to review the past year-and-a-half of newsletter articles and blog posts and realize that I haven’t ever written about it for you.
Whether you call it margins, white space, quiet time, mini-vacations, or any of the other popular terms, it is still the same thing: humans function better after a period of refreshing. That refreshment period can take a variety of forms. The length of time to engage in it depends on how seriously stressed you are to start with, and how quickly you can let the stress go.
In other words, in some situations, a week off is not enough time and, in others, a 15 minute nap or centered meditation is plenty.
The more stressed you are, the more you need a refreshment period. The faster you can let go of stress and take advantage of the refreshment, the shorter it can be.
In today’s busyness it is more important than ever to get that refreshment — however, most of us don’t take the time we need.
Yes, there are people out there who seem to spend more time “relaxing” than working, but they don’t read this blog. My subscribers are dedicated people… dedicated to achieving better things for themselves and for their families. And one of the side effects of that dedication is a difficulty in slowing down and engaging in appropriate self-care.
I encourage you to take a good, solid look at how you are managing your time and your priorities. Make sure that you have some “down time” scheduled into your daily and weekly schedule. And make sure that you schedule a longer period off every few months.
When I tell this to my clients, I often hear “but I can’t do that. I don’t have time!” Then we go into things like time management strategies, prioritization, and the importance of pacing in order to accomplish long-term goals. We work out a customized plan that builds in the “down time” while still getting the work done.
I don’t have space in this post to address all of those, but I have touched on some of them in other blog posts and/or in articles on the website, so I encourage you to look there if you feel a need in these areas. And I will write more on them in the future.
I do my best to model for you the things I advise. I am proud of the fact that I don’t just repeat what I’ve heard, but share what I have learned (by testing it out — experiencing it — and only passing on what works.)
I know that you work hard. That effort extracts a toll on you — mentally, emotionally, and physically… even if you enjoy what you do. Listen to your body. Learn to recognize the signs of stress. When you see the signs, get some “down time” in. If it is refreshing — it counts. You will actually be more effective when you return to your tasks.