What is a downtime?
A time when one is not working or active.
Time for rest or recreation away from one’s usual work or studies.
I hit a mental saturation 2 months ago. Having a timeout wasn’t really an option then because I was having my exams in a month. I kept pushing myself. I hadn’t gone out in a while. My routine consisted of going to college..coming back home..work and work and some more work. I took a week’s gap after my exams to compensate for the lack of sleep but it didn’t help. Even beginning my day undaunted, getting through my ever growing list of work and things to memorize in school seemed as futile as scaling a mountain that continuously thrusts a new stone skyward. It was then my brain told me to stop. It’s full. It needs a downtime.
How did I know it was time for a timeout/ downtime ?
1. Things I genuinely loved doing, started to seem burdensome.
2. Fatigued. Tired. Stressed. Drained. Zapped. Stressed. I felt like a Zombie.
3. Poor quality sleep. I could wake up at the drop of a pin. And even waking up after a 10 hours sleep, I would feel lethargic and tired all the time. All I could think- there was so much to do. So much to accomplish. My brain didn’t sleep.
5. I am someone who is always excited about the next day. I keep planning stuffs to make my day as productive as possible. I felt this desire leaving me.
6. I started having mood swings. Obviously I wasn’t happy with my performance. And this started reflecting on my behaviour with everything and everyone.
7. Lack of concentration. We think the best way to succeed is do as many things as possible. But it is the quality that matters, and not the quantity.
9. I started becoming more forgetful, made more mistakes and couldn’t think straight.
10. There is always a lot of mental stress, tension and accumulated concerns. It was like, I wasn’t the 100% me !
How does a timeout/downtime help ?
Downtime is not a luxury that is taking away your productivity. The opposite is, however, true.
1. Downtime/ timeout helps you to think more creatively and plan more effectively.
2. It helps to expand and solidify thoughts. Encourages productivity.
3. Investing time in a timeout can help you construct meaning out of your life.
4. It will help you to recharge, revitalize and rejuvenate.
5. More satisfaction and contentment with self and work. Helps achieve highest levels of performance.
6. Restores motivation and concentration.
1. I started doing things I loved but have been neglecting for too long. I love to dance. Everytime I hear a song, I can’t stop but dance. And you should try that out too! Dance can change your entire mood. Dance can make anyone happy! You don’t have to be Shakira to dance. Do your own kind of dance !
2. Watch a movie or a t.v. series. Read a good book. Both of these work if you are looking for something lazy as a timeout. Your brain will tell you that you are wasting your time by doing this. But just tell it to SHUT UP ! You need some YOU TIME.
I would suggest F.R.I.E.N.D.S. It is evergreen!
Also I’m reading a book by Preeti Shenoy. It’s very inspiring!
3. Pursue an old hobby. I am terrible at painting. But recently, I bought a pack of glass paints and started pursuing my old, lost hobby. Glass painting.
4. Get a good quality sound sleep. It is a requirement. Do not set alarms for the next day. Wake up only when your mind has had enough rest. Also, daydream. Works for me 😁
5. Mend relationships. There is no denial in the fact that our loved ones will always understand and care for us despite our shortcomings. But if not mended in time, they will lead to fractured relations. I went shopping with dad after ages. I also had a sleepover at my best friend’s house last night. Life is good !
6. Go on a vacation. I didn’t try this one out. But I strongly recommend you to do this. It is a great way to revitalize. A chance to look at your life with a different perspective.
7. I increased my intake of fresh fruits and juices. I have recently started practising yoga. It is a great way to de-stress your body and mind.
8. Invest some time in non demanding tasks, like re-arranging your room, changing furniture, clean and painting your house.etc. When you are idle, your brain might think it is bored. But these non demanding tasks, helps the brain refresh itself and battle restlessness.
9. Avoid social gatherings and social media. It is a killer of downtime. The perfection in people’s life, upsetting news in your news feed and sometimes, negative people will make you even more stressed out.
10. Go for a walk everyday. Sit in a park. Observe things around you. Relate it to your life. Feel the beauty of your existence. Enjoy the positive emotions that come out of things you love.
Tip- If you are someone who constantly battles sinusitis and frequent headaches, I suggest you to try the essential oil therapy. I mix 5-6 drops in my vaporizer and inhale it. Alternatively, you can also mix it in your bath. It helps soothe my mind and temporarily calms my headache. I have been trying tea tree oil and rose oil for quite sometime.
It doesn’t really matter how much time you might need to get back to the old you. But you have to. Once in a while, a timeout becomes a necessity. Mental saturation can take a toll on your mental health. And it will also affect your overall performance. It may take a week, or two weeks or a month or maybe two months. But when you come back, be the best you !
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