"In the last ten years or so, the pace of life in the western world has become increasingly frenetic - saying you’re ‘so busy’ seems to have become a badge of honour, and not to be busy, a sign of failure. But that’s a terrifying state of affairs - extreme busyness impacts on people’s wellbeing and thus the wellbeing of society in general. When we take less care of ourselves, we are taking less care of the planet.
If we can slow down, both mentally and physically, and engage in every present moment, rather than always worrying about the future, or feeling guilty about the past, life becomes so much more enjoyable and fulfilling."
I love the above quote by Ali Dover (photographer and designer) and I have decided to take her advice. As summer is quickly approaching and my family will all be under the same roof again... I am going to take heed in my 'OLW' thoughtful and be more attentive to my family, my friends, my life and my house during these summer months. For me this means... little to no social media, being in the moment with my family and friends, making memories and documenting them, taking care of the little things in life and embracing the whole.
So until September... I'm leaving you with this wonderful article on downtime from the Mahabis Journal.
The Importance Of Downtime
From a young age we are taught the importance of hard work, and of success. We learn how these elements are key in living a happy life, but what is often overlooked is the importance of downtime. Some extremely successful people have given opposing accounts in how downtime contributes to their success. The first female Prime Minister supposedly thrived on just fours hours of sleep per night, whilst Tim Ferriss, author of ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ famously strives for a minimal amount of ‘uptime’. This only goes to prove that the key to success is to find what works for you, underlining the essence of your own importance in your day.
Downtime must be created by you, and for you.
If feeling constantly rushed, or feeling a sense of guilt associated with relaxing, are things you identify with, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with the perception that when they aren’t working, or ticking off the ‘to-do’ list they are being selfish or unproductive.
We can counterbalance this by unpicking the negative connotations of the word ‘selfish’. To think primarily of oneself is not inherently negative, but sometimes necessary! Also, by remembering productivity does not at all times equal satisfaction or happiness. Most sources of entertainment can be deemed completely unproductive; literature, music and theatre all serve simply to entertain. Allowing the purity of enjoyment to seep into your day may release the shackles of 24/7 productivity that could be weighing you down.
The art of taking time out of your day to truly relax and enjoy the moment can be difficult to master for those who are used to the hustle of a busy lifestyle. Many attribute their lack of downtime to the age of smartphones, social media and information overload. Whilst it’s true that it can be difficult to find a moment of peace or solace amongst this, the need for a digital detox is not applicable for all. For some, downtime is simply allowing themselves time to scroll through a beautiful instagram feed, or an inspiring pinterest board. If you are struggling for ideas of how to include a little downtime in your day perhaps consider when was the last time you laughed, and what caused it? What was the last book that you devoured so quickly yet didn’t want to end? Even the last meal you created and savoured? Discover the sources of enjoyment in your life and amplify them. Make time for them, and by proxy, time for you.
A clearer mind, a sense of balance and a space for the natural flow of creativity can all be achieved as a result of taking some downtime. You may be looking to slow down a little, or maybe just to cope better with the fast pace you are accustomed to. The answer to this may be counter-intuitive, because it is not what is intrinsically preached to us; to work harder, faster, and smarter. Whether you take two minutes to breathe and empty your mind, or two hours to laugh with a good friend, allowing time to relax and appreciate yourself will become an essential part of your success and happiness.
After all, who really defines those terms? You.
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