Why we all need a bit of downtime

If you’re a busy parent, life can feel like one endless series of problems to solve. Some people can just plow straight through, dealing with all the issues as they arise. Others, however, get burned out. And that’s when the real trouble starts.

Getting downtime is vital for several reasons. But, as with so many things, it comes back to biology.

When you rest, you activate something called the parasympathetic nervous system. If you’ve ever felt rested and happy, you’ll know what this is like. You feel relaxed like you could do anything, and you’re not worrying about going to work or driving the kids somewhere. You definitely don’t feel overwhelmed.

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Activating this system is vital because the body relies on it to do basic housekeeping. Your bowels need it, for instance, to digest food properly and make you regular. Your brain needs to switch off properly when to sleep. And your cells need it so that they can clean house and restore their functions.

How you get downtime is very much up to you. For some, it is spending time relaxing in front of the TV. For others, it’s clattering about in the shed.

The best way to relax, though, is usually to do something out in nature to remind yourself that you’re not just somebody who works all the time.

For some, the answer is to go fishing at the weekend and sit on a boat for the afternoon, waiting for a fish to bite. According to Tailored Tackle, you don’t have to be an expert to get started. All you need is a kit and a few instructions.

Similarly, you could try camping. Again, this gets you out into nature and allows you to enjoy the outdoors, miles away from the office. All you need is a camping kit, containing a tent and sleeping bag, and that’s it.

Anyway, you get the picture. It’s all about getting out in the sunshine and leaving the troubles of the world behind.

You Give Yourself Permission To Rest

So why is downtime so important? Here’s a rundown.

Taking time off can be difficult if you’re the sort of person with a lot of responsibility. Unconsciously, you come to believe that you need to be busy the whole time. You can’t rest.

Try scheduling some uninterrupted “me” time. Be deliberate about it. Purposefully switch off all the things in your life that lead to stress and just enjoy the moment.

You Get More Sleep

Working up to the wire is a recipe for insomnia. You’re always buzzing, never quite able to chill out and relax. And that can make getting to sleep very difficult indeed.

When you get a bit of downtime, though, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system. And all of a sudden, your body has permission to sleep, allowing you to fall into a restful daze.

You Reduce Your Stress Response

Long periods of downtime help to flatten your stress response, making it less likely to flare up when something stressful happens.

Are you getting enough downtime?

This is a contributed post and therefore may not reflect the views and opinions of this blog or its author.

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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