Why Downtime Is As Important As Work Time

Stress is a normal part of everyday life, but it doesn’t have to be a constant. It’s important to devote some time to downtime and relaxation, the same way it’s important to devote time to work. After all, all work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy. Unfortunately, one of the big problems with stress is that the things that cause the stress also take up a lot of time. That often means you don’t have time to spend on leisure pursuits.

That doesn’t have to be the case. Even if you can only carve out a few minutes here and there, that’s still plenty of time to take a load off and relax. It all depends on how you do it.

When You Only Have Five to Ten Minutes of Downtime

Five minutes might seem like the blink of an eye, but it’s actually a decent amount of time to get in a little relaxation. Try YouTube, or a similar site, and watching a couple of cat or meditation videos. There are actually studies that show that cat videos are good for you, and a great way to relax. If you’re at home, and have a real live cat, try spending a few minutes playing or getting in some quality snuggle time. Cats aren’t the only animals that can help you relax; playing with your dog, or even watching fish swim can also do the trick.

When you Have Fifteen to Thirty Minutes

Try getting away from your desk and taking a short walk. Wear a tracking device, like a Fitbit, to motivate you to get your steps in each day. Studies show that even short walks are good for your health and mental well-being. It not only gets your blood flowing, and strengthens your leg muscles, it also helps you work off the nervous energy that often accompanies stress.


When You Have Up to an Hour

Use that time to take a longer walk or take some time to catch up on your favorite TV show. DIRECTV, and other services, have DVRs that let you record your favorite shows, and watch them whenever you want. The great thing is that you can also fast-forward through commercials when you are pressed for time. In addition, try combining services together, for example you can bundle Internet with DIRECTV, so you can watch your favorite shows and your favorite cat videos at one affordable price.

When You Have Several Hours

Having several hours of downtime is a luxury for most people; so if you find yourself with hours to spare, make the most of them. One of the best options is to spend your time pursuing a hobby that gives you pleasure, such as knitting or bicycling. Another option is to spend time outside of the house doing something you enjoy, such as walking through a museum or seeing a play. If all of your free time is in the morning, you can enjoy sleeping in and having a leisurely breakfast.

When You Have a Whole Day

Consider making a day trip to a nearby town. Or, if staying in is more your speed, spend the day curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book, or your favorite movies. Treat yourself to a spa day, where you enjoy a glass of champagne while someone else pampers you. The sky’s the limit when you have the whole day free to do whatever you want.

Things to Consider

Remember that this is your time to do with as you please. Although some of these options suggest participating in activities, you are free to spend your time however you want. The key is to relax. If that means spending the day in bed, binge watching all of the shows in your DVR, then go for it. If it means spending the day running errands, then that’s fine to. So long as you feel relaxed and refreshed at the end of it.


Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.