I wanted to write a blogpost on the topic of downtime as having downtime was something that I have always found hard. Recently, I have tried to incorporate more downtime in my life, which has helped me feel happier. In this blog post, I want to talk about why downtime is important, and why downtime can be so hard to do.
One massive reason why downtime is important is that it allows us to feel happier. During downtime, you have the opportunity to do the things that you love, whether that is reading, watching a movie, or even exercising. Doing the things you love makes you happy, which is very important, and helps us in every aspect of life. However, a bigger reason why downtime is important is that it helps prevent burnout. The topic of burnout is relevant for almost all of us, and I have suffered from burnout several times at university. At university, I didn’t have enough solid downtime, and I was always busy with one thing or the other. As a result, it was often the case that I burnt out by the 7th week of term, and terms at university were 10 weeks long. The consequences of burnout can be quite bad in some cases, and avoiding burnout can help massively with your mental health and wellbeing.
In theory, downtime should be something that is very easy to do. However, so many people neglect it and fail to do it as much as they should do. For me, I found it hard to have downtime due to the guilt trap. Especially with the university lifestyle being so full on, whenever I thought of having some downtime, it was replaced by the guilt that I should be doing something more productive, whether that was reading lecture notes, doing some more job applications or something else. The guilt trap also extends to adulthood and the working world. In this day and age, many of us have busy work schedules and lots of other commitments to manage, therefore we sometimes feel the need to be productive all the time. This then means that downtime usually gets pushed aside, as we feel we don’t have the time for it.
Different people have different ways to make the most out of downtime, so I am not going to give specific advice on how to make the most out of downtime. However, one general thing that I have recently found useful is to schedule in downtime the same way as you would schedule in all of your other commitments and responsibilities. This means that you are actively making an effort to set aside some downtime, which also gives you something to look forward to. A lot of us schedule in the tasks we have to do as part of our daily responsibilities, but how many of us actively make the effort to schedule in some downtime? I know that I didn’t when at university.
I would also like to emphasise that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to downtime, and people have downtime for different reasons. A lot of people like to do something productive with their downtime such as reading a book. Whereas other people don’t like to be productive in their downtime, and instead they would prefer to watch Netflix or have a bubble bath. Furthermore, everyone’s situation is different. For example, some people have 12 hour working days and thus in their downtime they want to do something that can be done quickly, whereas other people have more time. This means that it is inevitable that how downtime is spend will vary. Note that the quality of your downtime is more important than the quantity. It’s much better to spend 30 minutes of quality downtime but without distractions rather than trying to spend 3 hours of downtime but with lots of distractions.
What do you do in your downtime? Comment on the comment section below!