There is a huge difference between downtime and laziness. The lives of young adults are often very hectic – there’s uni, part time jobs, relationships, friendships, money, family, growing up, moving out, paying bills, real jobs, travel, savings, etc. While this is all very exciting and makes for a very busy life, sometimes there’s one thing missing: YOU. With a frantic schedule and a million things to do, it’s easy to forget about the most important thing and that’s yourself and your health.
Downtime is unique to every individual and some people don’t really know how to do it. Extroverted people often don’t make time to be alone, as they prefer the company of other’s. But “you-time” is highly important and you need to gift it to yourself. Even though you think you’re taking time out to have a drink with friends, it’s not complete relaxation and it’s not alone. Spending time with yourself is important to reconnect with who you want to be and how you are coping with your stresses. Here’s six benefits of solitude (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201201/6-reasons-you-should-spend-more-time-alone)
- You clear your brain and unwind
- Improves concentration and productivity
- Self-discovery and focus on your values and goals
- Time to think deeply and reflect
- Time to think through problems and stresses without distraction
- Enhance relationships through self-understanding and appreciation
This time to yourself isn’t’ something to feel guilty about. You might feel like you should be more productive with your time but taking this moment to yourself results in higher productivity, focus and motivation for when you do get back into your to-do list.
You might feel like you don’t have time for this. It is important to allocate time for you, even if it is 15 minutes. Postpone your lunch date and spend time mediating or painting. Or get up half an hour earlier for a quick walk before uni.
Here are some suggestions on what to do in your downtime:
- read a book
- watch TV
- writing (not uni or work)
- lie down in the sun
Socialising doesn’t count! Neither does uni work! So keep yourself disconnected to the outside world for a little bit so you can reconnect with yourself.
So how much alone time should you schedule? There’s no one-size-fits all but start with 15 minutes a day just for you. Or maybe an hour for three days a week. Make it work with your schedule and your needs but make sure it’s there!
Keep in mind that excessive alone time may lead to loneliness but that’s another can of worms!